Special to Black Press
Editor’s note: This story appears in the Comox Valley Record’s fall edition of Trio Magazine
When you first step into City Cannabis the vibe might be familiar – and the reason for that is simple.
Although founder and CEO Krystian Wetulani says the store is its own unique experience, it’s not a stretch to see where the inspiration comes from.
“A lot of people think cannabis stores look like someone’s basement – we’re trying to set a standard here,” says Wetulani. “We want our stores to be aesthetically appealing, comfortable, safe and clean.”
Before opening his first medical cannabis store in Vancouver five years ago, Wetulani worked at Starbucks for about 10 years – advancing from barista to manager of several locations.
City Cannabis takes a health and wellness approach and combines modern technology for an interactive experience. Customers are able to smell flowers and see products through exclusive “bud pods,” big interactive menus display all product information (like THC levels and where it was grown) and unique pneumatic tubing delivers the product to a cashier AKA a “budtender” where customers can then self-checkout via iPads.
As for the décor, it brings nature and wellness vibes to hectic city life. The bright white walls are a refreshing contrast to the living green space and most of the shop’s furniture and display cases are made of local reclaimed wood that has a story to tell.
Working for one of the most iconic companies for a decade gave Wetulani the experience necessary to open a chain of four cannabis stores.
“I say working at Starbucks and working up in the company kind of put me through business school because they put me through lots of training. I also surrounded myself with great people and did lots of further training and seminars.”
The main takeaway for Wetulani was the legendary customer service component.
“Every person that walks through the door is valuable and you want that first impression to be as memorable as possible. It’s customer service, customer service, customer service.”
City Cannabis most recently opened a location right here in the Comox Valley at 16 – 215 Port Augusta St. in the Comox Centre Mall; it is Comox’s first cannabis store.
“This just gives us an opportunity to be leaders in the community. We really pride ourselves on the knowledge piece and in our area, there’s a lot of older, retired people who may not know a whole lot about cannabis, so this gives us the opportunity to be their first experience with it and we take that really seriously and with pride.”
Wetulani says the store appeals to everyone from young to old, offering everything from cannabis, to pre-rolled joints, tinctures, CBD products and, as of December (when full legalization takes effect), edibles and drinks.