Westleaf Cannabis Announces Aggressive Canadian Retail Expansion with Experiential Music Partnership

Date:

Share post:

Calgary-based Westleaf Inc. is taking the unique relationship between cannabis and music to grow its Prairie Records retail brand across the country.

The company’s first store opened February in Warman, Saskatchewan, about 20 minutes from Saskatoon, and it has announced it will be opening two new locations in Saskatoon on April 20.

Adam Coates who has been spearheading the retail rollout as the company’s Chief Commercial Officer, said the online ecommerce has also been launched recently.

The two Saskatoon stores, both in premium locations, are planned to open in time to celebrate April 20, the day associated with the push to legalize cannabis in Canada.

“After the two stores in Saskatoon, we have an opportunity to open another store in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, which will happen this summer likely and then we’re building out storefronts all over Alberta and B.C. With where the AGLC (Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission) is at right now with not releasing any more licences, we’re busy building out the stores to meet regulation and security requirements and as soon as the AGLC will start issuing more licences we will be in a position to open more stores and enter Alberta,” said Coates.

“Same thing with B.C. We’re going through the different regulators – the B.C. government and the municipal level as well – to hopefully start building and opening stores in B.C. this year . . . We’re planning to open, in 2019, 25 stores and then plan to open as many as 50 stores by the end of 2020. Right now we’re focused on Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. and if there’s an opportunity in Ontario, once they start opening up more licence opportunities in Ontario, we plan to have a number of stores in Ontario as well under the Prairie Records brand.”

Westleaf says Prairie Records is focused exclusively on densely populated neighbourhoods, high traffic areas, and tourist destinations and retail stores will be situated in some of the most premium retail locations across the country.

The foundation of the retail concept is ingrained with a desire to create a unique cannabis purchasing experience through tactile in-store features and product offerings that celebrate the relationship between music and cannabis.

“Prairie Records is really the reinvention of the cannabis purchasing experience and what we’ve really done is married cannabis and music together. They’ve been best friends for a long time and we’ve used that as our theme throughout everything that we do from store design as well as the overall consumer purchasing experience,” said Coates.

“So what you’ll find when you walk into a Prairie Records is that it looks like a modern day record shop. However, the bit of the difference is that it’s a cannabis shop. So in a record shop you’d see records. We have records in shelves and racks of records that you would see in any record shop but instead of finding your next favourite band or artist what you’ll find is your next favourite brand or strain of cannabis.

“With this record cover concept, it allows us to create a more tactile and engaging consumer experience because right now based on regulations all product needs to be actually under lock and key. And the actual packaging is very restrictive in terms of lots of warning labels and only space for a very small brand element. So what we’ve done with the record covers is taken a lot of the information that you would want to see on the packaging traditionally and put that right on the record cover. We allow consumers to pick up records and explore and really kind of instill this sense of discovery.”

He said another unique store feature is how it organizes products on its record shelves by music type.

“We’ve categorized our store in three categories. One’s called Dreams, a classic Fleetwood Mac song. Walking on Sunshine and Just Dance by Lady Gaga. If you know nothing about cannabis but come into our store I think you should at least get a sense of the type of experience you can expect or the type of products that are in that category,” said Coates.

“And taking it one step further. In a record shop you can listen to music. Well our record shop is no different. However, instead you will listen to music but you’ll listen to the strain of a feature product. So on our top hits wall we have sensory jars that actually has the product inside so you look at it, smell it and the record cover where you can learn a little bit more about the actual product itself and the headphones you can put on where you can listen to a curated playlist that will give you a sense of the mood or the type of experience that you could expect. Really bringing in a lot of sensory in a really immersive experience is really what we’re about as well as providing a really wide range of a great selection of cannabis products.”

The vertically-integrated company also is building a purpose-built indoor cultivation facility in Battleford, Saskatchewan which will be operational by the end of September this year. It also has an extraction processing and manufacturing facility in Calgary which will be completed later this spring.

“Saskatoon and all of Saskatchewan, is proving to be one of the strongest cannabis retail markets in Canada as the sector continues to evolve and mature,” said Scott Hurd, President and CEO of Westleaf. “We have the opportunity to deal directly with licensed producers in stocking our shelves, we are able to sell online across the province through our e-commerce platform, and the ratio of stores to market size make Saskatoon an ideal location to operate cannabis retail.”

Recently, Westleaf announced it had entered into an exclusive partnership with cannabis leader Xabis to provide expertise to Westleaf’s Calgary cannabis extraction and production facility. The facility formerly known as Delta West, will be rebranded The Plant by Westleaf Labs. The extraction and production facility under construction in southeast Calgary is expected to produce cannabis derivative products and, after legalization of such products which is expected later this year, consumables, topicals and other cannabis infused products, subject to and in compliance with provincial and federal regulations.

Xabis is a Colorado-based cannabis processing company which provides turnkey operations for companies in the mid-stream of the cannabis industry.

“This partnership is another part of the execution on Westleaf’s strategy of becoming a significant vertically integrated player in the Canadian cannabis industry,” said Hurd.  “We believe a diversified offering of derivative cannabis products will account for a major shift in consumer demand once legal. We are positioning to formulate unique, high quality derivative products and bring in the best minds in the industry to help leverage our expertise in building and running these types of facilities.”

Westleaf also recently announced that the Town of Banff has approved its development permit for a flagship retail location in the heart of Canada’s most visited national park. The location on Caribou Street just off famed Banff Avenue, will be developed as a flagship in the Prairie Records brand of cannabis stores.

“Premium retail locations are the cornerstone of our vertically integrated strategy and which we believe uniquely differentiates Westleaf by providing access to wholly owned distribution channels,” said Scott. “We have built our Prairie Records retail brand to be a superior retail experience and have focused on locations with high foot traffic in urban centres and resort destinations. There are very few locations in Canada that tick off as many boxes as the Banff location does. If you have ever been to the intersection of Banff Avenue and Caribou Street on a summer weekend, you will know exactly what we are talking about.”

The store will be in the basement of the historic King Edward Hotel which was built in 1904 and is the second oldest hotel in Banff.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From Retail Insider

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

Loblaw Announces $2 Billion Investment in Canada for 2024 with Dozens of New Stores and 7,500 New Jobs [Expert Comment]

The retail behemoth will be growing substantially this year, following backlash over profits as inflation continues to impact Canadians.

Dubai-Based Asian Street Food Concept ‘Wok Boyz’ Expands into Canada with Plans for Multiple Locations [Interview]

The company's founder says the popular concept, with personalized meals, has an opportunity to grow substantially with its high-quality ingredients and theatrical flare, complete with fiery customer-facing woks.

Calgary Surge Basketball Team Launches Innovative Pop-Up at CF Chinook Centre to Boost Community Engagement [Interview]

The retail activation, which opened this month, is resulting in heavier foot traffic in a quieter part of the mall.

Upscale Pusateri’s Fine Foods to Close Yorkville Grocery Store in Toronto After 20 Years

The 5,500 square foot store opened to much fanfare in 2003, with valet parking, private chefs and pricey goods. 

Loblaw and Walmart Could be Forced to Adhere to Grocery Code of Conduct with Legislation [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that it's rare for all of Canada's political parties to agree, signalling a shift that could force grocers to comply amid record inflation.

Factory Direct to Shut All 14 Stores Amid Bankruptcy, Liquidation to Begin Saturday

The company, founded in 1995, is one of Canada’s largest privately owned discount retailers which struggled with declining sales and increasing costs following the pandemic.

What to Expect for the Canadian Retail and Hospitality Sectors in 2024 [Video Interview]

Michael Kehoe provides an expansive overview of what's expected for Canada's retail industry in 2024, and how the commercial real estate industry is becoming more dynamic than ever.

Anatomy of a Leader: David Lui, CEO of Kit and Ace and Co-Founder of Unity Brands

Lui has an extensive background in retail with over 30 years of experience and is known for his award-winning brand transformations, e-commerce and digital knowledge along with his passion for scaling businesses.

Robotic Retail Gaining Traction in Canada, But Some Consumers are Being Left Behind [Op-Ed]

Automated retailers without in-store staff are opening across Canada, such as Aisle 24, RC Coffee and PizzaForno -- but consumers without smart phones, credit cards, or with vision issues may not be able to access these retailers says a researcher.

Oakridge Park Announces 1st Luxury Retailers, Attracting Top Brands to Vancouver [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the latest Oakridge Park announcement, highlighting the addition of luxury and upper contemporary brands to Vancouver's retail landscape and how it will impact downtown.

Interview on What it Takes: Lee Valley Tools Named Top Retailer in Ontario for Customer Service

The company's COO Jason Tasse discusses the retailer's secret sauce for having an engaged workforce, while also discussing plans to expand with more stores and retail concepts.

Survey Data Shows Canadians will Prioritize Romance Over Budget Cuts This Valentine’s Day [Interviews]

David Litwin of Moneris notes that Valentine's is an interesting bellwether for what businesses might expect from consumers for the rest of the year.

Anine Bing to Open 2nd Canadian Storefront at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto 

The US-based women’s fashion brand recently opened its first Canadian store at Yorkdale, and will open its second location in a downtown luxury hotel. 

Retail Burnout Crisis in Canada: The Call for Empathetic Leadership and Proactive Solutions Amid Operational Strains [Feature]

It's never been more difficult to work in retail, with store managers burning out amid lower staffing numbers, increased task and store robberies. Two industry experts discuss the situation.

RECENT RETAIL INSIDER VIDEOS

Advertisment

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe

* indicates required

RECENT articles

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.

Anatomy of a Leader: Teresa Spinelli, Owner of Alberta-Based Italian Centre Shop Ltd.

Spinelli discusses her leadership of the popular retailer which has expanded over the years, describing how she struggled to run the company at first and grew to love it.

Upscale Canadian Fashion Brand SMYTHE Expands with New Standalone Calgary Store [Interview/Photos]

It's the second store location for the Toronto-based brand, which is seeing success with its exclusive womenswear collections.

Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens Hits Sales Milestone with Exciting Retail Growth and Future Plans [Interview]

The shopping centre is adding new retailers as sales per square foot hit an all-time high, with plans to re-tenant Nordstorm as foot traffic grows following Eataly's opening in the mall a few months ago.

ECS Coffee Opens Canada’s Largest Coffee and Espresso Equipment Gear Showroom and Retail Space in Toronto [Interview]

The new Etobicoke location is unique to Canada if not North America, according to its founder, with coffee roasting, equipment showroom, over 500 varieties of coffee, Youtube studio and various in-store experiences. He has plans to expand the concept nationally.

New Loblaws City Market Opens in Vancouver’s ‘The Post’ Building, Adding Grocery Competition to the Downtown Core [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the opening of a new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver's renovated Post building, and they explore its potential impact on local grocery shopping.

Loblaw Announces $2 Billion Investment in Canada for 2024 with Dozens of New Stores and 7,500 New Jobs [Expert Comment]

The retail behemoth will be growing substantially this year, following backlash over profits as inflation continues to impact Canadians.

Dubai-Based Asian Street Food Concept ‘Wok Boyz’ Expands into Canada with Plans for Multiple Locations [Interview]

The company's founder says the popular concept, with personalized meals, has an opportunity to grow substantially with its high-quality ingredients and theatrical flare, complete with fiery customer-facing woks.

Calgary Surge Basketball Team Launches Innovative Pop-Up at CF Chinook Centre to Boost Community Engagement [Interview]

The retail activation, which opened this month, is resulting in heavier foot traffic in a quieter part of the mall.

Upscale Pusateri’s Fine Foods to Close Yorkville Grocery Store in Toronto After 20 Years

The 5,500 square foot store opened to much fanfare in 2003, with valet parking, private chefs and pricey goods. 

Loblaw and Walmart Could be Forced to Adhere to Grocery Code of Conduct with Legislation [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that it's rare for all of Canada's political parties to agree, signalling a shift that could force grocers to comply amid record inflation.

Factory Direct to Shut All 14 Stores Amid Bankruptcy, Liquidation to Begin Saturday

The company, founded in 1995, is one of Canada’s largest privately owned discount retailers which struggled with declining sales and increasing costs following the pandemic.

What to Expect for the Canadian Retail and Hospitality Sectors in 2024 [Video Interview]

Michael Kehoe provides an expansive overview of what's expected for Canada's retail industry in 2024, and how the commercial real estate industry is becoming more dynamic than ever.

Anatomy of a Leader: David Lui, CEO of Kit and Ace and Co-Founder of Unity Brands

Lui has an extensive background in retail with over 30 years of experience and is known for his award-winning brand transformations, e-commerce and digital knowledge along with his passion for scaling businesses.

Robotic Retail Gaining Traction in Canada, But Some Consumers are Being Left Behind [Op-Ed]

Automated retailers without in-store staff are opening across Canada, such as Aisle 24, RC Coffee and PizzaForno -- but consumers without smart phones, credit cards, or with vision issues may not be able to access these retailers says a researcher.

Oakridge Park Announces 1st Luxury Retailers, Attracting Top Brands to Vancouver [Podcast]

Craig and Lee discuss the latest Oakridge Park announcement, highlighting the addition of luxury and upper contemporary brands to Vancouver's retail landscape and how it will impact downtown.

Interview on What it Takes: Lee Valley Tools Named Top Retailer in Ontario for Customer Service

The company's COO Jason Tasse discusses the retailer's secret sauce for having an engaged workforce, while also discussing plans to expand with more stores and retail concepts.

Survey Data Shows Canadians will Prioritize Romance Over Budget Cuts This Valentine’s Day [Interviews]

David Litwin of Moneris notes that Valentine's is an interesting bellwether for what businesses might expect from consumers for the rest of the year.

Anine Bing to Open 2nd Canadian Storefront at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto 

The US-based women’s fashion brand recently opened its first Canadian store at Yorkdale, and will open its second location in a downtown luxury hotel. 

Retail Burnout Crisis in Canada: The Call for Empathetic Leadership and Proactive Solutions Amid Operational Strains [Feature]

It's never been more difficult to work in retail, with store managers burning out amid lower staffing numbers, increased task and store robberies. Two industry experts discuss the situation.