CALEDONIA — Hundreds of Haldimand residents turned out for the opening weekend of Caledonia’s first cannabis dispensary, Lolly.
Located in the heart of town, right at the crossroads of Argyle Street and Caithness, owner Danielle Braemer says this dispensary has been a long time coming.
“We submitted an application in both lotteries and did not win. On January 6th when the government opened the application process to any interested parties we submitted an application for our Retail Operator License,” said Braemer. “On March 2nd, also the first day applications for Retail Store Authorizations were accepted, we submitted for our Caledonia location and immediately began construction. COVID allowed us the time to do a lot of the work ourselves. It was a nice distraction and a much appreciated project to take on while social distancing.”
Braemer says the name of the dispensary came from a nickname given to her by her grandfather. During the dispensary’s design process, the name Lolly emerged as an option for the name because it had a such a positive connection and is a memorable and unique name.
“ We started with the branding and worked with a super talented team at Overdrive who designed our logo. Many mood boards later, MaNa Works, the architecture firm who did the design, nailed the vibe, colour scheme and textures of the space that I envisioned. Bringing Lolly to life truly took a village of designers, artists, constructors, friends and family whose unique expertise were leveraged every step of the way,” said Braemer.
She says Caledonia was identified as a great location for the dispensary because there was a need for one in the region.
“My father had his Chiropractic clinic here for 24 years,” said Braemer. “The local community has been amazing. We received so many kind emails and notes expressing excitement and thanks which has been the fuel to our fire. Prior to opening, we met with Ken Hewitt to get a feel for Caledonia’s interest in having a cannabis store in town and we left feeling encouraged. Since we opened I had the pleasure of welcoming the Director of the Caledonia BIA into her first recreational cannabis store, that was pretty cool!”
Braemer is part of a growing group of female entrepreneurs in the Canadian cannabis realm. “I know I am in good company in this industry and I am honoured by that,” said Braemer. “I had the pleasure of working at an architecture firm founded and owned by a woman in a male dominated industry (design and construction) who I would consider a mentor and a source of motivation. That experience opened my eyes to the realities of women in business and I am optimistic that the pendulum is swinging as awareness of the benefits of diversity in the workplace in all respects is becoming more and more apparent. I am proud to be swinging that pendulum a little harder along with the other women and minorities working hard to pave the way.”
COVID-19 restrictions didn’t stop the grand opening weekend. “We had amazing turnout at our Grand Opening. Given the COVID restrictions, we could not have a typical Opening Party so instead we tried to create an outdoor experience that would allow people to remain socially distanced and enter the store a handful at a time. Jonny Blonde Food Truck was serving tacos, chili and hot apple cider and we had some feel-good vinyl tunes playing,” said Braemer.
Ongoing pandemic restrictions have not hampered plans for Lolly to provide cannabis to consumers. They offer click and collect services for those who prefer to shop online via www.lollycannabis.com and have plans to offer delivery in the future.