One of the first companies to announce it would operate a cannabis distribution outlet in Brandon has opened its doors in the Shoppers Mall.
The city was one of four locations approved for Delta 9 Cannabis Inc., a Manitoba-based cannabis retailer seeking to serve customers throughout the province. Currently, the company is also operating two other stores in Winnipeg.
Delta 9 Cannabis, the fourth legal cannabis outlet to open in Brandon since the drug became legal for recreational consumption in October, opened in the former Shoppers Mall Manitoba Liquor Mart on April 4. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Service hours have not been determined for Sunday.
Tokyo Smoke, Meta Cannabis and Tweed are the three other cannabis distributors operating in the city. Tweed was the first to open on Nov. 8, about one month after legalization.
Founded in 2012 by Bill and John Arbuthnot, Delta 9 first obtained a license to produce cannabis for medical consumption in 2014. Headquartered in Winnipeg, the company operates out of an 80,000 square foot facility and employs about 150 people.
Delta 9 was one of four retail cannabis producers to obtain a distribution license through the Province of Manitoba’s Request for Pre-Qualifications process last summer. At that time, the province sought to reduce the black market by having retail outlets within a 30-minute drive for 90 per cent of Manitobans.
“As a local company, we want to be able to serve the people of Manitoba in every corner of the province,” Delta 9 CEO John Arbuthnot told the Westman Journal in July 2017. This was after the company was already approved for three stores in Winnipeg and one in Brandon.
“It’s clear from (the government that they are) concerned more remote communities may not be well served, so we’re committing that as part of our program. We will absolutely build a network that includes smaller rural communities as soon as possible.”
In December, Delta 9 was conditionally approved for a “cannabis superstore” in Brandon that would encompass 4800 square feet of retail space and a Cannabis Education Centre for customers. The company is among more than 90 retail and service establishments operating in the mall, including anchor tenants Sobeys extra, Sport Check, Landmark Cinemas and Shoppers Drug Mart.
“Our retail strategy has been to build in the best available properties we can find with the highest amount of foot and vehicular traffic,” Delta 9’s vice-president of retail operations Al Roney said late last year in a company announcement regarding its expansion into Brandon.
“This strategy has worked very well at our St. Vital outlet in Winnipeg.
Two months after the Winnipeg location began operation, the store had completed more than 36,000 transactions.
“We fully expect to see the same kind of success in Brandon, and we’re very excited to start working on renovating the property over the next few weeks,” said Roney about the company’s expectations for their Brandon operation.