Construction is nearing completion on a Muse Cannabis store at 3039 Granville Street, near West 14th Avenue, and the owner told Business in Vancouver on April 4 that he is hoping to open in May.
The news comes a day after the B.C. government announced the two latest cities to have provincially approved cannabis stores: Bowen Island and Victoria. The Bowen Island location is called Happy Isle Cannabis Co., and it plans to open at 203-992 Dorman Road. The Victoria store is set to be called Cloud Nine Collective, and the plan is to put it at 778 Fort Street.
The other 14 provincially licensed private cannabis stores include three in Vancouver and two in Kimberley. Other stores are in Pouce Coupe, Trail, Tumbler Ridge, Port Hardy, Castlegar, Invermere, Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Dawson Creek.
The store that JAK Group CEO Mike McKee plans to open on Granville Street has city approval and what he calls an agreement in principle from the province.
“We expect to finish construction between April 15 and 22, and then we will have the city inspectors and provincial inspectors come through, so we expect that to be done in the last week of April,” he told BIV. “Then we have to order all the product.”
He is not able to officially become licensed until workers finish building his store and inspectors have given him the green light that the construction matches what he promised to build.
Until he gets that licence, he is unable to view, much less purchase from, the province’s website for wholesale customers.
The 3,200-square-foot store that McKee intends to open is about the same size as the JAK’S liquor store a few blocks north, on Granville Street near West 11th Avenue.
The JAK’S liquor store chain recently opened its 15th location in Williams Lake, and that store is doing a booming business, according to McKee, so that Interior city may be the site of a future Muse Cannabis store, he said.
Before McKee negotiates a lease in Williams Lake, however, he will be busy planning sequential openings in other B.C. cities.
McKee has an agreement in principle from the province to open a store in Campbell River. That store is likely to be his next store to open, and his plan is to start construction a few weeks after the Granville Street store opens so he is able to tweak his store design if he learns of any glitches in how the Granville Street store is built.
Next to open would likely be a store in Courtenay, where the JAK Group has civic approval and McKee is waiting for the province to grant approval in principle.
His plans for a store in New Westminster are working through the municipal process with a city government that originally dug in its heels in requiring all cannabis store owners to build stores with transparent windows – this despite a provincial law requiring translucent or opaque windows.
“The city called uncle,” McKee said, suggesting that the City of New Westminster will allow translucent windows.
“The city is taking a very hands-on approach to what the windows will look like. They’ve also made it clear that they expect the law to be loosened over time, and when it does, the window covering will come off.”
The City of Port Coquitlam has said that it will approve eight cannabis locations and McKee has applied to have Muse be one of them.
He also has his sights on stores in Coquitlam and Langley, but he is waiting for those cities’ governments to provide more guidance on their approval process before he moves forward.