“We can’t believe it’s been a year!”
With those words, owner Stew Garner launched the celebration of both the first anniversary of the Star Buds Cannabis Co. store at 813 Innisfil Beach Rd. in Innisfil, and its official grand opening, delayed due to COVID, on Friday morning.
The store has been popular since it opened a year ago, selling a complete line of legitimate, high quality cannabis products and accessories, in a spotless, spacious and welcoming setting.
In fact, it has become the “number one” store in Garner’s chain of seven Star Buds, outselling even his flagship store, located in Barrie on Livingstone Street.
“The people of Innisfil have been amazing,” he said. “We actually thrived during COVID… It’s been growing and growing and growing.”
Garner currently has three Star Buds outlets in Barrie, and one each in Bradford, Wasaga Beach, Angus and Innisfil, with plans to open an eighth store in historic Amherstburg this January.
He credits his team of nearly 60 staff with the success of the venture. “It’s customer service – that’s what really separates us from the others,” he said. “Our customer feedback is amazing.”
Attending the grand opening, and proffering their congratulations were MP for Barrie-Innisfil John Brassard, Katherine Chabot representing the office of MPP Andrea Khanjin, and local councillor, Donna Orsatti.
A one-year anniversary “is a milestone for any new business,” noted Brassard. “It is a struggle, especially during these times,” especially for a legitimate cannabis dispensary, at a time when illegal product is still on the streets due to loopholes in the system with medical cannabis licences being used as cover for illicit grow operations.
Brassard and other MPs contacted the Ministry of Health last year regarding the issue. “We still haven’t heard back from the Ministry,” he said. “Until they close that loophole, it’s a problem.”
Brassard emphasized the importance of supporting local businesses, whatever the product.
“It is business that is going to propel economic recovery,” he said. “We have to be supportive of these businesses – not be in its way, but stand behind it.”
He offered Garner and staff “sincere congratulations and best wishes” for Star Buds to “cultivate, grow and flourish.”
Those congratulations were echoed by Chabot and Orsatti.
“The co-operation and the respect you have for our community – I want to thank you for that,” Orsatti said.
Store Manager Eric Dawes thanked the officials and the community, for their support over the past 12 months. “Thanks for having us. The last year has flown by,” Dawes said. “The stigma of cannabis is flowing away.”
“The stigma is really decreasing,” Garner agreed, noting that not every community has been as welcoming and as positive as Innisfil. “The store speaks for itself.”
Star Buds Cannabis Co. in Innisfil will continue to celebrate its first anniversary all weekend with give-aways, swag, and special sales.