Victoria cannabis store shares profits with employees

Kurtis Tingley, left, and Dakota Tollefson are both part of Pineapple Victoria’s management team. Photo courtesy of Pineapple Victoria

Amanda Wright and Aaron Gray, co-owners, of the Pineapple Victoria cannabis store, are sharing their profits with employees.

The local cannabis store is moving away from a model where profits from the business primarily benefit shareholders. Instead, workers will receive 30 per cent of the store’s profits, and Gray and Wright’s families will each receive 35 per cent.

“We just really value our community and our team and we have decided to kind of change the dialogue around bud-tending specifically and have it be thought of as more of a career move rather than a stepping stone to another career,” says Wright.

Gray says his views as a business owner, changed during COVID-19, especially within the past 12 months. “In Victoria, the cost of living is just absolutely outrageous,” he says. “It’s pretty wild to see staff talk about, ‘hey I can’t afford my rent this month and stuff like that.”

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In 2015, Pineapple started as a legacy-era dispensary in Victoria and transitioned to the licensed, non-medical market in 2019. The local cannabis store has six employees and many of them have been with the dispensary since the transition.

“We are very cognizant that our success is in their hands most of the time being on the floor and we just wanna give them ownership over their ability to create success,” Wright says.

The duo says they’re not going to be raising the prices of their products to pay the workers. Additionally, to lighten the load on employees, the dispensary has changed to a four-day workweek.

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The owners try to pay their employees on a formula based on seniority along with the hours they worked during the month.“

I had to do it as equitably as possible. So for instance, it’s not too heavily weighted in one direction,” says Gray. “So, if a staff member is new and they’ve only been there for eight months and they’ve making the lowest wage out of anyone on staff, the profit sharing still has to be equitable for them.”

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