It’s one of Canada’s largest cannabis companies, so perhaps it is fitting that Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis is opening an exceptionally large store this week.
On Wednesday, the Aurora Flagship store will open its doors to customers at West Edmonton Mall, a venture it says will be the “largest experiential and retail cannabis store in Canada.”
“We wanted to choose Edmonton because this is our home base — this is where the company’s story began,” said Zamina Walji, the company’s vice-president of retail and consumer strategy.
“[We chose] West Edmonton Mall specifically because it’s one of the largest malls in North America,” she added. “It has more than 30-million visitors a year, so that’s a huge opportunity for us to engage with consumers.”
Aurora Cannabis said the new 11,000-square-foot space, its first retail store, is aimed at allowing customers to “lounge, learn and explore the cannabis movement” by creating what it calls an atmosphere conducive to education within the store itself.
“The focus is really going to be around cannabis legalization, the products that we carry, learning about Aurora, learning about how the industry is evolving and then learning about consumption,” Walji said, adding that the store will work with artists, chefs and other innovators to help people learn about cannabis.
Walji said by opening the store in the mall, the company hopes to further destigmatize the use of cannabis. People who are not old enough to purchase cannabis products can legally lounge in a foyer in the store while their parents or guardians shop there.
The opening of the store comes less than two weeks after Aurora Cannabis’ shares dropped to a two-year low after its revenues missed expectations. The company also recently announced it was halting construction at one of its production facilities and suspending work at another.
“With any industry, there’s going to be seasonality [and] there’s going to be ups and downs,” Walji said of the recent challenges the company has faced. “Cannabis 2.0 (edibles, beverages etc.) is coming into the market and I think that’s going to have a huge impact on the industry and the consumer and we’re really excited about that.
“The store has been in the works for a very long time… it’s been 10 months in the making,” she added. “As a company, we’re focused on the longer-term future of Aurora and the industry. We have the foundational elements in place to be successful.”
–With files from The Canadian Press’ Ross Marowits
Watch below: Some videos about cannabis.
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