Three’s company: more stores in the Okanagan

Published on July 26, 2019 by David Wylie

The Okanagan’s legal retail cannabis options are growing, with cannabis customers now having the choice between Spiritleaf in VernonStarbuds in Lake Country and Hobo in Kelowna.

Residents in the South Okanagan, however, are still without a store.

Hobo opened Thursday, becoming the first licensed retail cannabis store in Kelowna.

It’s privately owned by the Donnelly Group, known for its public houses, cocktail taverns and nightclubs in Vancouver. The retail chain has stores in Vancouver and Ottawa.

The Kelowna location is at 2121 Springfield Rd., near Orchard Park Mall.

Hobo is aiming for a bohemian look, with colourful rugs, big ferns and retro furniture.

Harrison Stoker, VP Brand & Culture at Donnelly Group, says more retail stores mean more people buying from legal sources.

“Physical stores have been slow to rollout in B.C., affecting people’s ability to access legal, recreational cannabis,” he says.

Bohemian Hobo

They group strains by what they call ‘intents’: Move (THC dominant), Lift (THC leaning), Balance (equal parts THC to CBD), Calm (CBD dominant), and Rest (THC dominant).

“We’re focused on making the cannabis buying experience disarming, compassionate and human for Canadians everywhere, regardless of their experience level.”

The name Hobo has drawn some controversy online. Stoker says it’s about “the verb to hobo.”

“The idea of readily dropping your worldly possessions and travelling that was championed in the late 19th century when the railways were being developed in North America … We’ve all read a lot of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and other books of people who are hobos.”

He says the company’s aim is to make the cannabis buying experience “disarming, compassionate and, fundamentally, human.”

Starbuds opening

In Lake Country, Starbuds has its grand opening Saturday.

“At 1,900 square feet, the Lake Country Starbuds is one of the largest private cannabis stores in BC,” says Daniel Winer, marketing manager for the Starbuds retail chain.

“Opening day, we’ll have over 46 strains in addition to a variety of pre-rolls, oils and capsules, as well as seeds for home growing. We can’t wait for everyone to come out and say, ‘hello.’”

Some of the strains available are grown in the Okanagan, including products from Flowr and THC BioMed. They also stock BC bud from Broken Coast, Qwest and Tantalus.

Winer says the local franchise owners, Celine and Gavin, have poured their heart and soul into opening this shop. Neighbours have been visiting since December to ask when the store is opening.

Visit the owners, Celine and Gavin; they’re great folks.

Also, click the link for our interview with the Okanagan’s first ever legal retail cannabis customer at Spiritleaf in Vernon.