Prairie Records Tops Cannabis Charts
Refined Saskatoon recently had the opportunity to sit down with Adam Coates, Chief Commercial Officer at Westleaf Inc., a vertically integrated cannabis company from Calgary, Alta. Coates dished on the company’s retail concept, Prairie Records, and its stores in Saskatoon and Warman, Sask. Here Coates shares how the company is singing a different tune when it comes to cannabis retail.
REFINED: What sets Prairie Records apart from other cannabis retailers?
COATES: First of all, the aesthetic! When you walk through the door, you’ll see that Prairie Records looks like a modern record shop. It’s completely different from anything else out there. Instead of finding your favourite artist on the walls, we have a “Top Hits” wall with our featured products and listening booths where you can listen to a curated playlist that matches the type of experience you could expect from that particular strain. From a display perspective, customers can browse through stacks of records where the sleeve includes information about the product.
That’s really different! How does that change things for the customer?
The records provide the customer with something tangible to hold in their hands. On the record itself, they’ll learn more about the strength of the strain, the format, the levels of THC and CBD, and the type of music it pairs well with. At Prairie Records, we’re really passionate about educating our customers about cannabis through their shopping experience and making the information easy to understand in a relatable format.
How do you compare cannabis to music through this approach?
Our Warman store is organized into three sections: “Dreams,” “Walking on Sunshine,” and “Just Dance,” so it’s easy to imagine the different effects. In the “Dreams” section, you’ll find cannabis strains that are more docile, less intense and great for nighttime consumption. We chose these categories because we want to give customers a simple guide — most people know music better than they know cannabis.
Wow, that’s really original!
Yes, it is. When we started off we knew one thing: we wanted our retail concepts to be totally focused on the customer experience by creating a sense of discovery and encouraging people to be empowered with their cannabis choices. Some retailers have sterile environments and all the products are locked up. Being able to pick up a record and take it to the front offers a tactile shopping experience and when you leave, you get a smaller version of the strain’s record cover too, so you have the brand and product information.
After opening the Warman store, what’s next for Westleaf?
Our retail strategy includes opening more than 50 stores across Western Canada by the end of 2020, with two stores in Saskatoon and one store in Warman currently open, and an e-commerce platform which serves Saskatchewan. We’re bringing that same customer focus to our online store and we’ve done a lot of work to engage with the communities we operate in because we like to be locally relevant — hence the name, Prairie Records. Our goal is to be a leader in cannabis retail in Canada, and we have one of the widest selections of cannabis in Saskatchewan because of our industry relationships.
Our retail strategy includes opening more than 50 stores across Western Canada by the end of 2020,
Why is it important to help people better understand cannabis?
For us, it’s all about reinventing the cannabis purchasing experience. We have experts in the cultivation, science and production behind cannabis, and we’ve turned that into institutionalized training for our staff, so they’re very knowledgeable. There’s still a lot of education needed and there’s still a negative stigma around cannabis, so we want to reduce misinformation and break the stigma with our retail concept. We’re really excited about it and think it will be a very enjoyable experience for cannabis users in Canada.
720 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon (306) 244-7795
170 - 3020 Preston Avenue S., Saskatoon (306) 664-7795
Instagram and Facebook: @prairierecords