They tried for 4/20, but 4/30 still has a nice ring to it.
The official opening day for Violet Wild Cannabis Co. at 9750 Chemainus Rd. on Friday, April 30 had been a long time coming for the owners, sisters Terra Maibach and Sonja Riddle, partly due to COVID and partly due to the process that must be followed for cannabis establishments since legalization occurred in October of 2018.
Maibach, Riddle and family members were in celebration mode, as the doors finally swung open to the public and they revealed the fabulously decorated interior that’s been kept under wraps until opening as well as their full product line.
“Very excited to serve Chemainus and Vancouver Island,” said Maibach, 37. “Really excited to be in this community, specifically. Basically, we want to make Chemainus proud.”
“Everybody here on the Island is extremely supportive,” she added. “I’m very grateful for that. Definitely for me, I like to make sure I do things right. Everything is completely legal, obviously – the face of compliance. We’ve got over 300 cannabis products. We’ve got something for everybody. We have something for the beginner all the way to the experienced cannabis consumer.”
Riddle, 34, said the business will employee five people besides herself and Maibach. “The majority of our staff is local,” she noted.
Both Maibach and Riddle were born and raised in Nanaimo. They found the location that fit their criteria in Chemainus.
“A friend of mine suggested the site might be a possibility,” said Riddle. “We looked in Nanaimo, but nothing called to us. Of course, we love the town (Chemainus). It’s adorable. There’s a good energy and vibe for a small town.”
Maibach graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts in humanities, with a major in Hispanic studies and a minor in Italian studies.
She was in real estate sales with Re/Max from 2010-2018.
“Since then I followed my heart into the cannabis industry,” Maibach indicated.
She’s been living in the heart of Chemainus since September of 2019 in the long process toward opening the business.
“It’s always been a goal for me to live and work in the same place,” Maibach said. “I’m always going to be here and available to help out all the time.”
Riddle left Nanaimo for about five years to work in the hospitality industry in Jasper, Alberta. When she moved back in 2010, Riddle started in counselling and has been in that industry ever since. She has a masters degree in counselling psychology.
Taking a page from their parents’ background of business ownership, “when this opportunity came to my sister, she asked me to come on board with her,” said Riddle. “She’s the face of the franchise, I’m the details gal – the behind-the-scenes, paperwork person.”
Riddle currently has her own counselling practice and intends to continue in that capacity while also being active in the cannabis operation.
The sisters actually started on the path toward getting the cannabis business off the ground what seems like a long time ago now in early January 2019.
“COVID definitely impacted us,” said Riddle. “Lots and lots of jumping through hoops with different regulations and following all the rules. It’s no small task.”
Maibach said there was about a three-month hiatus in the process due to COVID.
“We weren’t able to gather people for the public hearing which is a big deal.”
A virtual public hearing was finally held July 15, 2020 and renovations commenced around the same time.
Maibach went all out with the bright purple and yellow colours after the Violet Wild name was chosen.
“In Nanaimo, I was known as the purple gal for real estate,” Maibach chuckled. “I always wore purple. It was my marketing, it was my niche. Pick something people will remember you for.”
The colour scheme has been complemented with work by Studio AE Interior Design of Lantzville, Array Marketing Agency for the logo and branding, Sign Age for the signs, Lamina Construction owned by Ryan Riddle for providing the project management and all carpentry and a spectacular Chemainus-themed inside mural done by Kris Friesen.
Violet Wild is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.