Any number of challenges can set back a business while it’s in the process of opening, but it’s probably fair to say that nobody anticipated a global pandemic.
Randy Tingskou expected to open White Rock’s “A Little Bud Cannabis” store this month, but that plan went up in smoke, thanks to challenges presented by COVID-19. A new opening date of July 1 has been set.
“It definitely made it a little more interesting,” Tingskou told Peace Arch News Tuesday.
Tingskou didn’t point to a single major hurdle, but said a lot of tiny delays have caused problems for him.
“Sourcing materials and things like that, that’s caused us some trouble, to be honest with you,” Tingskou said. “Some of the major suppliers just haven’t had availability and some of the products haven’t been available. So that’s causing delays in the process, unfortunately. But so far, the contractors and everybody’s been good, even the city was quite good.”
Opening a shop during the pandemic comes with added costs, including the purchase of personal protective equipment.
“We’ve been dealing with the nice folks down at Ethical Addictions over in Crescent Beach and they’ve got us set up with masks and everything that we need for our staff… We’ll have some to provide for our customers as well.”
Other safety considerations include limiting the number of people allowed inside the store at one time and changing how customers interact with the product.
“We’ve obviously had to take a lot of that into consideration because cannabis is very much a see, touch, feel kind of product. With the current regulations in place, that’s obviously not going to work.”
Tingskou said he is well into the hiring process, which has also been impacted by provincial regulations related to COVID-19.
“Normally, we want to meet everybody in person. The original idea was to do a bit of a job fair here in White Rock and have people come in and look at the different job opportunities. That was put on hiatus, but what we’ve done is just sort of adapted to the new way of doing things. We started with an online process and initial Zoom meetings,” Tingskou said.
Plans for a grand opening have been shelved.
“This is going to result in a bit of a softer opening than what we would have liked. I’m sure you can appreciate, it’s just not an appropriate time to start inviting everybody down.”
The City of Surrey has not yet allowed any cannabis stores to open within its limits. However, Indigenous Bloom has been operating nearby, on Semiahmoo First Nation land, since June of last year.
Deemed an essential business, Indigenous Bloom shop has been particularly busy during the pandemic, with customers often lined up outside waiting to go in.