Owner store

Chatham cannabis paraphernalia shop owner drops by the dispensary

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In perhaps a sign of the times, a storefront in downtown Chatham that sold men’s suits for decades now operates as a cannabis store, although the business has already had a presence downtown for several years. .

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Willy’s 420 Supplies recently reopened at the former Boyes & Herd at 143 King St. W. Owner Curtis Lemieux started his business a few doors down in the spring of 2018 as a cannabis paraphernalia store before cannabis was legalized. drugs later that year, but he still intended to add a dispensary to his operation.

He bought the new building in 2020 shortly after Boyes & Herd closed and spent around 18 months on renovations.

“The size was especially what sold us the most,” Lemieux said of choosing the new space.

“We knew we wanted to have everything cannabis related. We wanted to be Chatham-Kent’s cannabis hub so if anyone has any cannabis related issues or questions or needs any type of product we wanted to be the place to go.

He said he was considering staying at the old location, but realized it would be difficult to get a cannabis license.

“Not owning the building is a lot of work for the risk,” he said.

“We really wanted the place to be more secure. We were robbed at the other location three times and the entire front of the building was completely glazed. We knew there were things to do that we weren’t ready to put in someone else’s building.

With the renovations, Lemieux opted to expose some of the masonry and “ugly concrete,” as he calls it, that “really adds to the aesthetic of the place.”

He also found a side window which was rendered useless after the construction of the neighboring building to the east.

“Everything was just covered and left there and there was broken glass as well,” Lemieux said. “It was pretty cool. We wanted to restore that and bring it back and show it off a bit too.

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There is still work to be done. Lemieux said he plans to add locally made cabinets to the middle wall to display more products, which can be ordered in-store or ahead of time at willys420.com.

The glassware and other accessories he sold in the old store are still available.

The entrepreneur works at the store with his fiancée, Paige Glasier, as well as one full-time and one part-time employee for now. His brother owns 10% and takes care of the books and his father also helps him.

Lemieux said he plans to hire one or two more people after the grand opening on April 8 and 9, when the store’s hours increase. However, he said it would remain “a very small family business”.

While Chatham-Kent was left out of the first round of stores – Lemieux applied for the first provincial lottery in 2019 but was not selected – the municipality is now hosting several.

In Chatham alone, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario licensed 10 stores, although at least one has since closed. Tilbury, Wallaceburg, Blenheim and Ridgetown also have seven stores among them that have opened.

Currently, no other applications to Chatham-Kent are under consideration.

Willy’s 420 Supplies is actually the third dispensary open on King Street West.

“We really wanted to make sure we got it all done right off the bat,” Lemieux said.

“We didn’t want to rush anything. It actually gave us the opportunity to see what we liked and disliked about some of the other stores and how the industry is doing. I think we are in a good position now.

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