Albertans are Canada’s most enthusiastic cannabis buyers, says Statistics Canada, and a Calgary company is ready to take advantage of that in Red Deer.
YSS opened the first half of its Red Deer outlet last Wednesday, with renovations on the second half almost complete at the store located at 5111 49th St., near Real Canadian Superstore.
It will be roughly double the size of the previous cannabis tenant, Greentown, which was bought out by YSS earlier this year. Red Deer will be YSS’s first branded store in Canada.
YSS vice-president of operations Tony Balakas sees a good future in Red Deer.
“The Red Deer market is strong. We really like the Red Deer market,” said Balakas.
“Obviously, we’re seeing more competitors come into the market. But with that, we’re not only seeing an increase in cannabis, we’re seeing an increase in good cannabis products, which is tough to find sometimes.
“There is a lot of cannabis on the market right now. But a small percentage of that are good cannabis products.”
Balakas expects that as retailers and producers get data on what products are big sellers, those will become more readily available.
“We’re looking forward to that. We’re also looking forward to December, which is when we will be able to offer edible products, concentrate products and beverages.”
Statistics Canada numbers seem to indicate Alberta will be a profitable province for cannabis producers and retailers.
Since legalization in October 2018 to June 2019, $123.6 million in legal cannabis sales were made in this province, ahead of Ontario’s $120.6 million and Quebec’s $119.2 million. By comparison, B.C. had only $19.5 million, ranking it ninth among provinces.
YSS’s Red Deer store will employ about 15 people when the outlet is complete. The sleekly designed store features multiple tablets for customers to peruse offerings, get information and make their picks.
“It’s a bit more of an elevated consumer experience,” he said. “There’ll be more room on the floor, so we’ll be able to offer more accessories.”
YSS is in acquisition mode and hopes to have about a dozen stores operating by the end of the year.