Since the legalization of cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018, there has been a growing fascination with the new industry and if there would be enough demand to sustain the 661 cannabis stores in Alberta, 145 of which are in Edmonton.
This fascination is no different for Alberta Ave. Four cannabis stores are located within the Alberta Ave district. Three of those, Numo Cannabis, Mountain Standard Cannabis, and Mind-full Cannabis are located within 10 blocks of each other. Alternative Greens is located near Yellowhead Trail. Mountain Standard Cannabis could not be reached for comment.
Having so many cannabis stores close together might seem bad for business, but these stores are finding their footing and establishing their niches.
Norm Hollingsworth, owner of Mind-full The Cannabis Store, says, “[The competition] is what it is. I’m not sure if we know what the exact competition is yet — we’re still brand new.” Mind-full opened on Oct. 28, 2020, and they have another location on Yellowhead Trail that has been open since 2018.
Hollingsworth chose Alberta Ave as the location for his second store because he wanted to take advantage of the great community. With NAIT right across the street, plenty of restaurants nearby, and even a bowling alley, it seemed like the ideal location. When school resumes in the fall, Hollingsworth says they will be able to conclusively determine how they match up with the competition.
Kyle Bell, manager of Numo Cannabis, says that the owner Daniel Nguyen chose Alberta Ave as the location for his store because his father owns the plaza where it is located. Numo has since opened three new locations across the city: a location in Chinatown, one in Oliver Square, and a location in Skyview that has been open for two months. Their Alberta Ave location has been open since the first day of legalization, so Bell adds that competition hasn’t been a pressing issue for them. “We kind of have the dedication and the customer base already built up.”
Tia Eckert, assistant manager of Alternative Greens, says their store has been welcomed into the community. “We haven’t had any bad feedback or anything,” she says. Alternative Greens also opened on the first day cannabis was legalized, making it one of the original six stores open.
Numo and Mind-full have also received positive feedback from the community. “We’ve made a lot of friends,” says Hollingsworth. “And since we’ve opened, NAIT hasn’t been open, so it’s just been the community supporting us.”
All three stores have a mix of walk-ins and regular customers. But Eckert notes that “people are just nowadays going to whatever store is closer to them.” While Alternative Greens still has its regulars, Eckert says, ease of access is becoming an important factor in choosing a cannabis provider now that there are more stores.
Since cannabis is such a new market, new trends and store models are still emerging. While experts predict the cannabis industry might hit a rough patch after the 2018 boom, owners continue to open new locations, and seem to have found their footing in the community.