Fire & Flower York Street Cannabis is one of three legal pot stores to open their doors in Ottawa on April 1 after winning the cannabis lottery. Fire & Flower is located on York Street in the Byward Market. The non-descript store front is a reflection of Ontario’s strict laws governing advertising cannabis. [Photo © Cole Hickman]
Upon entry, there is a kiosk and menu board. Customers can find the information about the product on offer such as THC levels, price and quantity. Staff will also greet them at the door to offer explanation. Michael Patterson, co-owner of Fire & Flower, says this way, customers can find out what strain of cannabis suits them best. [Photo © Cole Hickman]
In the store, an employee checks ID at the entrance and at the cash. The store offers various cannabis accessories. Edibles will be coming to the store in October. [Photo © Cole Hickman]
The store offers 130 different strains of cannabis
The store offers 130 different strains of cannabis. The names are displayed in a grid system on the wall based on THC and CBD levels. The system uses plain language to describe what kind of high you will experience. [Photo © Clare Duncan]
Patterson says the business tries to make the experience of buying cannabis as accessible and inclusive as possible. The store offers one-on-one consultation with staff ‘cannistas’. “Our experienced cannistas are able to walk you through that decision to fine tune exactly which particular strain might be good for you as well as help you out with any accessory questions or needs that you do have,” he says. [Photo © Clare Duncan]
Patterson says there are three types of people come into the store: Those who have no knowledge, those who have some knowledge, and those who may even be more educated than the store staff and know exactly what they want. Eric Lavoie, co-owner of Fire & Flower says on the first day they saw more than 950 people go through their doors. The store had more than $50,000 in sales. [Photo © Cole Hickman]
“Even if you don’t know exactly what strain you want, you can figure out where you would like to be on the experience spectrum, and then that will allow you to pinpoint the strains that would meet what you’re looking for,” Patterson said. [Photo © Clare Duncan]
The store provides opportunities to examine different strains, by sight and by smell. Lavoie says that if the customer does not like the strain they purchased, there is a 14 day return warranty on any sale. [Photo © Cole Hickman]
Lavoie says, “the only negative that we’ve gotten is from people who are buying from the black market … We’re a couple dollars more but we don’t control pricing, but essentially our goal is to charge the same.” The Ontario Cannabis Store, Ontario’s government retailer, requires higher prices because of shipping costs. [Photo © Clare Duncan]
“We view ourselves as a high-end retailer that just happens to sell cannabis, as opposed to trying to improve upon the previously illegal dispensary model,” says Patterson. [Photo © Clare Duncan]