The right people help Spiritleaf stand out

Published on August 12, 2021 by David Wylie

Photo: David Wylie/the oz.

Spiritleaf Vernon has personality.

Owned by Sarah Ballantyne, the bright spacious store has a great selection of products. It was the first legal cannabis retailer to open in the Okanagan, on July 1, 2019. 

“We’ve seen the second wave of legalization happen, and along with that came new technology and innovation, like nano-emulsion for drinks and the fast-acting gummies,” she says. That includes, edibles, beverage and concentrates.

“The quality has been going up and the prices have been coming down.”

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As part of the Spirtleaf franchise, all stores have a consistent look no matter where they’re located.

Ballantyne is hands on, which helps bring her own individuality to the store.

“I’m here almost all the time—maybe too much,” she says with a laugh.

Standout staff

“My approach to this was all about staffing, finding the right people for the right job. Our team here is amazing. They’ve been with me the whole time.”

Ballantyne has a background in human resources with the Alberta government. She moved to the North Okanagan with her husband to open the store. She wanted to enjoy the longer summers and warmer winters. “I was really looking to get out of my cubicle.”

Her background in HR helped a lot during the hiring process. She recruited some staff even before opening. 

Staff picks are listed on a board behind the counter and help guide customers of varying cannabis tastes.

Ballantyne is helping shape the industry through her position as a cannabis store owner. She provides feedback to the provincial distributor and has been an outspoken voice for the legal industry.

Sarah’s picks

She enjoys vape pens, edibles and drinks. She also tries topicals. 

“I like the carbonated soda waters; they’re less calories (than alcohol) and real easy to drink in the sun.”

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