Choom Cannabis is opening a new store in Niagara Falls on Saturday and they’re breaking the stigma and boosting tourism while they’re at it.
Lisa Bigoni, owner and license holder for the store, says the stigma around cannabis is changing and the Niagara Falls City Council and community have been “amazingly receptive and very supportive” about Choom’s opening. “People of all ages and from all walks of life are expressing interest in when the store opens,” adds Bigoni.
Bigoni has always had an interest in the cannabis industry but followed it from a distance. When the opportunity came up to apply for a licence, Bigoni and her husband, the owner of a small retail business, jumped at the chance.
Bigoni believes Choom’s focus on staff and customer education and social responsibility are what set the store apart. Licensed producers have come in to educate staff on the strains being sold and the majority of staff have completed the CannaReps Cannabis Sommelier Training. Bigoni says, “Staff are ready to help customers and they have a solid understanding of what’s behind the product they’re selling.”
The retail space itself is also unique. “When you actually see the physical store, there is no question that we have set ourselves apart,” explains Bigoni. “It does not look like a store that you shouldn’t go into. It is open and inviting – while of course meeting all regulations. It is a really big, beautiful space with lots of live plants.”
It’s not only the locals that are interested in Choom. Hospitality businesses in Niagara Falls, a popular tourist destination, are already fielding inquiries from guests about where to purchase cannabis. “We are excited to be ready to serve that group,” says Bigoni. “Selling cannabis is a great boom to the Niagara Falls area and one more reason to visit the falls.”
Choom Cannabis Niagara Falls currently has a manager and 24 staff with the possibility of hiring more. It is the second store to open in the region. Niagara’s first cannabis retail store, The Niagara Herbalist, opened in St. Catharines on April 1.