Everything is better when you bring a canna-friend! So when we decided to visit Hello Cannabis we invited Anita Glibota to join us. What fun we had and what a great shopping experience! Here is our review of Hello Cannabis.
When we arrived at Hello Cannabis we were greeted by an open front door and a warm, smiling face and personality. We were immediately impressed. Meet Keith – greeter extrodinaire!
I am what you would call the greeter. In essence though because the Ontario government insists that we do look at ID for everyone thats a valid ID. So I think having a slightly more mature person asking for that seems to take away some of the problems from some of our mature clients feeling as though they are being not harassed. I would say singularly that’s my number one job. Number two is to make sure that everybody gets an experience and enjoys the experience and do whatever we can to take away a little bit of the stigma that has been attached to this product and make sure the people are happy with it.Keith, Greeter @Hello Cannabis
When we were talking with Keith about his role at Hello Cannabis we were intrigued by a first time customer who had just purchased some products and was thanking Keith for his help and support. We asked her if she would field a couple of questions about her experience and here is what she had to say.
Seniors buying cannabis for the first time
Senior Female Customer: I have a friend who is well into her 70s who is trying this and when she is telling me about this, I decided you know what if she can go in there and get it, so can I.
Lin: Good For you!
Senior Female Customer: I have never had anything like this in my life.
Lin: So this will be the first time that you experiencing it.
Senior Female Customer: Ever! Anything!
Lin: And you bought oils?
Senior Female Customer: I bought the oil the one with CBD.
Lin: So non psychoactive so you are not going to get high which is great.
Senior Female Customer: I don’t want to get high. This is what is wrong with all the other medications, they screw with my head.
Lin: The pain medicines that they are giving you are making you feel not great.
Senior Female Customer: They make me feel awful. My husband hasn’t tried it either. I am sure that he has tried the real stuff in university, I am sure he did, I know he did. We will see how it goes with me and then I will get him on it.
Lin: So CBD for pain and are you going to take the in conjunction with your pain meds?
Senior Female Customer No I am off everything. I got off everything first. I want to know what works and what doesn’t you see.
Senior Female Customer: What is it that you are fighting? What pain are you fighting?
Customer: Peripheral neuropathy from heavy heavy chemo.
Lin: Congratulations on beating breast cancer.
Senior Female Customer: I had a double mastectomy, it was a long haul.
Lin: I am sure it was and I really really hope that you get a positive experience from the CBD that you purchased today. Give it a little bit of time to work, and good luck to you.
It would be hard to write this review and not talk about the YELLOW. It is the shops signature colour and it is everywhere. The colour is incredibly bright but yet somehow it makes the shop feel approachable and less intimidating. This is actually really important for the ‘new to cannabis’ consumer. Those new to buying, trying or exploring cannabis are often pretty nervous about even entering a shop. The newbies worry that they don’t know what they are shopping for or what to ask for and Hello does a great job of making everyone feel welcome and supported.
Right now about 60-65% our clients are over 40. CBD oil seems to be the magic out there for our mature clients. They are very interested in learning more about it, and of course they didn’t have the experience of that when they were growing up, so that is a whole new market and product for them and it is working well.Keith, Greeter @Hello Cannabis
We learned that some of the LPs do come in and provide support in the shop to staff and customers. They teach customers and staff about their products and the company. Gage Cannabis stands out as providing the best experience so far from the staff’s perspective.
Gage Cannabis is a great little local craft cannabis company that we are big fans of. We toured the facility it is just fantastic, next level. Clean rooms, even their broom closet is clean enough to eat off the floor in. It was impressive. And they have been really responsive and helpful with helping to get the staff trained, educate our clients.Frank Germana, Manager, Hello Cannabis
We had a great chat with store manager Frank Germana about his thoughts three weeks into business!
Lin: Has the store vision become everything that you hoped it would be?
Frank: Absolutely we are really really pleased with the design. I feel there is good flow and we are able to move traffic through quickly and efficiently without rushing them. Without making them feel rushed. That is starting with the design.
Lin: Why did Hello Cannabis setup shop in Dundas, Ontario?
Frank: Very good question. A big part of the team including Santino, our owner, has roots here in Dundas. He grew up here. He loves Dundas. We are very fortunate, we realize the demographic is more mature here and you can see that with the clientele walking into the store. We check everybodys ID but that seems like a formality because most people are over thirty. Thirty to eighty is what you can see here today. It is fantastic, we like helping that demographic.
Lin: Tell us about how Hello Cannabis is giving back to the community. What is an example of that?
Frank: On our opening weekend we had a charity barbecue for 3 days straight and donated all the funds to the Mary Street Shelter. It is a men’s shelter here in Hamilton, run by the Good Shepherd. They are doing great work. Next Friday we are going to serve dinner there as well. A portion of our team has volunteered. It was interesting though we contacted multiple charities that did not want to associate themselves with a cannabis company. Canna-biased I guess. That was surprising and since you are talking about normalizing the conversation, I was surprised they would not accept money from a licensed facility here.
Lin: How is the store doing in terms of sales results? Are you comfortable speaking about that?
Frank: Absolutely, since we were late to open I think we missed that novel shopper that was intent on seeing all the new stores April 1. We have been steadily improving. This is week three and everyday of the week is an improvement over the same day of the previous week. It is real business rather than just novelty or start up business.
Lin: Your employees all completed CanSell. Any feedback on that positive or negative.
Frank: Everbody liked it. It is very basic. There are 4 major takeaways. Don’t serve drunk people, don’t serve intoxicated people, don’t serve minors and check everyone’s ID. There is a whole lot more information. It was well written and they do offer CanSell expert which goes in deeper to Cananbis knowledge.
Lin: Was it enough to train your staff to do this job?
Frank: No, not at all. That trained them to be compliant, that’s what that did which is paramount. Without being complaint we wouldn’t have a license. That was that portion that took care of. We also had a 3 day boot camp. We had a wonderful content writer named Amber Johnson, who is a professional educator. We went over the kind of things we wanted to educate our team on, and she delivered. She wrote it and delivered.
Lin: Can you tell me how you manage the line between helping the customer and being compliant. How do you help educate customers without providing recommendations?
Frank: The kind of language surrounding providing cannabis for customers, you almost have to be like a lawyer. You just present disclaimers and site studies or research from articles or reports, rather than personal opinions.
Lin: Why should people pick Hello Cannabis over another shop?
Frank: We bring more knowledge to the table. I have been in other shops and asked lots of questions as a secret shopper and was never satisfied the way I was served. Our consultants are passionate about the product and learning. They definitely bring a lot of knowledge to the table. There is an education process and they care. They are the happiest people in the industry, and its one of the happiest industries that I have ever seen.
Lin: Your recycle program. Are people using it?
Frank: They love It. Recycling has been a big issue. A lot of people who I didn’t imagine would care about the packaging always comment on the packaging.
We will accept any manufacturers product to recycle. The government’s mandates for the product in a lot of cases make them not recyclable. Which is the most horrible story that you can ever imagine. We are charged with the responsibility of coming up with a product that will do it. So we are asking everybody right now, to please bring them back because If you put them in your own recycle they are going to end up in the landfill.Keith, Greeter @ Hello Cannabis
We really enjoyed our visit to Hello Cannabis – the staff is extraordinary and the shop is enabled with technology, beautifully designed, well lit, very clean and well stocked with accessories and merchandise. They feature local artwork which creates a great vibe as you enter and drives community engagement. We loved this about Hello Cannabis.
Anita and I both decided to purchase and try Solei products because they were experience based. Dundas is a super cute town – we stayed for lunch – worth the drive and time for both the shop and the town!