Lake City Cannabis Owner, Ryan Roch is excited for the opportunity to expand his business to Calgary in the Lincoln Park area in early to mid-March.
“We’ve been focused since we opened in Chestermere, we had an opportunity that came up and landed in our lap mid-summer last year, and it was the right time for us,” Roch said.
Roch always open to expanding his business, and after talking with the Lake City Cannabis team, he made the decision it was one of the better opportunities.
“With our first location, it was a great way to test run a lot of our theories, and the way we wanted to run things. We made a lot of mistakes along the way, and there were things we wanted to change,” Roch said.
When going into the Lake City Cannabis Calgary location, customers can expect the same core values as the Chestermere location.
“In terms of the overall experience, our values, customer service, quality, and selection, those will be how they have always been,” Roch said.
While the Lake City Cannabis values have not changed, Roch has changed design elements for the new location.
“It’s going to be easier to shop in, simpler to maintain, and the overall cost and build will be a lot cheaper so we can make sure we’re focusing on our customers instead of fancy build work and silly things like that,” Roch said.
“The overall experience in Chestermere compared to Calgary is going to be very close, but there are going to be a lot of nuanced details that make the shopping experience a lot cleaner, easier and fun,” he said.
Adding, “There’s new technology we’re implementing that make things a lot better, even in both locations now that are just a lot more feasible to do in two locations.”
While expanding his business, Roch has had to overcome challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has definitely made things trickier, the first thing that COVID-19 affected in launching the new location was working with the City of Calgary. It was a very lengthy process, they are backlogged, and they can’t do all the things they would typically do. The process took twice the time it would typically take,” Roch said.
“COVID-19 has also affected building costs, they have skyrocketed. There’s a lot of materials that are much more expensive,” he added. “A year ago, at this time, the cost of building materials wasn’t even close to what they are now, overall building a location has become quite costly.”
When opening the Chestermere location, Roch didn’t have to plan to implement plexiglass screens, and hand sanitizing locations, however, he is implementing COVID-19 safety regulations into the Calgary build.
Despite the challenges, Roch is excited to bring more people onto the team and create employment opportunities.
“We’re really excited that we get to bring more people on board, to create more jobs, the fact that in a pandemic we can create new employment opportunities for essential workers,” Roch said.
“We’ve had so many great people in our community supporting us, we’re looking to expand that now, and we’re excited about all the new people that we get to meet,” he said.
Without the support of the community, expanding Lake City Cannabis wouldn’t have been possible.
“A great deal of thanks goes to the community. There were a lot of questions and a lot of concerns when we opened up, which was fair. As we dipped our toes into a new world the community has been amazingly supportive, they have helped us out a lot, and we’ve met an amazing amount of people,” Roch said.
“It feels good that we can be a good news story, that we can support our community and represent Chestermere in the highest manner,” he added. “That’s my favourite part about it, it’s been such a positive experience.”