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Meeting a Cannabis Lottery Winner @ Choom

Choom Cannabis Shop Opens in Niagara Falls

Anita @thatswhatweedsaid and CanCanBuzz had a chance to get a sneak peek at the first Choom shop before it opens today and we also chatted with owner Lisa Bigioni about winning the cannabis lottery!

Lisa and her Mom meet Anita!
Lisa and her Mom meet Anita!

How did you find out you were a lottery winner?

Lisa: I had applied on the Wednesday, before I went off to work and then I kind of forgot about it. Then on Friday night we were about to watch a movie and my phone buzzed and I was kind of annoyed but I looked at my phone alert and it said I got selected. I said to my husband ‘WE GOT SELECTED” and we thought ‘what does this mean’ but we jumped for joy!

Within 15 minutes my phone was ringing like crazy. People were reaching out on facebook and linkedin.

It was overwhelming

Lisa: The first week was insane, of all the people that reached out to me I had to figure out who did I actually need to connect with. I needed a lawyer and accountant. I needed a letter of credit. I also needed to speak with the potential partners and see what could they offer in terms of support.

There was a great network of support of the 25 winners and the partners. The partners enabled information sharing. Instead of ‘broken telephone’ it was ‘working telephone. If a partner found out something with one winner they would come back and share that information. For example getting a letter of credit from a big bank was a real problem. In the end almost every lottery winner ended up using Alterna Savings Credit Union. They were fantastic. Not only did they help but they were very quick.

Did you quit your day job immediately? No, I went to work on the Monday actually. I had told my boss on Friday night that I won. I did have to take the first week off to get my bearings and get the letter of credit and application completed. Then in the next week I needed a leased space in western Ontario. I said to my husband go find us a space. I found a real estate agent that was very familiar with available space that I could get – he knew what was available and what could be signed that week and there was only ONE. It was in Cambridge. If we went on our own we would have to take that location. The pressure was really on for leased space and that is when I said – you know what – let’s partner. I did not want to lose this opportunity because we can’t get the leased space in time. I spoke with a lot of people but the people at Choom we just clicked! I got along with them, they were not pushy!

Good Times. Good Friends.

Choom doors will open today for the public but we had a chance to take a quick look and here are our highlights. The Choom shop name actually came from the Obama. Apparently Obama called his group of smoking friends in high school the Choom Gang. In Hawaii, Choom is the word used for smoking weed. Makes perfect sense to us!

The shop has a great west coast vibe. From live plant walls to custom surfboards and large palms. You immediately feel welcomed and transported to a surfing town.

Menu Tablets

You will find technology in the shop but it has been incorporated in a low key way and does not overtake the warmth being created by woodwork or plants.

They have amazing wooden slat window covering feature that allow some light to enter the shop and would allow over time for the front window to be open to the public if regulations permit. This is the only store in Ontario that has natural light.

The oak woodwork in the shop is not only beautiful but it FSC certified lumber. Foresty Certified Council works to help forests protect animal habitat, indigenous peoples’ rights, worker’s rights, and areas of significant environmental or cultural importance.

There are 620 live plants on the green wall behind it pumps out about 70 cubic litres of fresh oxygen every 2 hours. it takes the C02 out of the shop. It takes a low amount of water – about a gallon of water is pushed through the drip line every two weeks.

live green wall
Living Wall of Green

One of our favourite elements is the way they are educating customers. They are focusing on communication that steers patients towards dominance of THC or CBD versus strains.

The blue, red and green colours are then replicated on the product cards so that as consumers are walking the shop and exploring products they can see if the product is THC, CBD dominant or considered balanced. Pretty AWESOME approach.

They were stocked with tons of product and they stand behind helping out as many small craft as they can in Ontario. For example they are featuring a small craft out of Ontario called Northern Green Canada

We wish the team at Choom the best of luck today and we will touch base with them in a few weeks to see how things are going and if they sold out that massive vault of goodies!


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