Councillor Derek Koel and his business partner Jordan Altmiks know a thing or two about cannabis, and that’s exactly why they decided to open a retail store called ‘100 Percent Cannabis’ in the Town of Port McNeill.
The store’s grand opening was on Friday, Nov. 5 and it’s located downtown at #5 – 311 Hemlock Street.
Koel and Altmiks noted they are both fulltime workers with families, and they both have always had a serious interest in cannabis.
“I’m not shy, I’ve used it my whole adult life,” Koel said when asked about how he first became interested in cannabis products. “I want to show that ‘stoners’ aren’t all in the basement playing video games — we built a business from scratch here and we’re really proud of it.”
Altmiks stated he’s the same as Koel, he’s been using the drug his entire adult life and ever since prohibition ended he’s not afraid to talk about it anymore.
“Rather than people being in shock when we tell them we’re starting a cannabis store, they’re congratulating us and saying ‘right on’ and ‘good for you’ and that just tells me that the mindset is changing,” he said.
Koel pointed out he’s also had a lot of people stopping him in the streets and asking when they are opening.
“I really do think there’s a market here for us,” he added.
When asked how they came up with the idea for the business, Koel said he was actually thinking about getting into the industry back when legalization was still on the horizon.
“I was on the cannabis committee that got it approved and zoned in town, and as a landlord, I saw this as an opportunity for a new business in town,” he said, adding that he originally had someone from out of town who was interested in leasing, but that idea eventually fizzled out, “and then I thought, why not do it myself?”
Altmiks mentioned this is a side project for him, stating that he and Koel are mountain biking buddies who decided to join forces about a year ago.
“We incorporated on Oct. 14 and it took us about a full year to obtain the licence,” he said, with Koel proudly adding they did all the necessary paperwork themselves.
“I didn’t think legalization would happen so quick, but it did, and there was an opportunity that Derek and I thought we should jump on, because the industry is growing so fast,” Altmiks added, with Koel noting they “hope to offer some local employment, but for now we will just see how busy we are.”
Altmiks said they are looking to start servicing the entire Tri-Port area, as well as other more remote areas like Sointula and Alert Bay.
Cannabis shops can now also offer deliveries, which Koel says they will be doing by bicycle.
“We’ll probably move to a car when we start making deliveries to places like Alert Bay and Port Hardy,” he laughed.
As for the store itself, Koel noted all the remodeling done inside of the building was completed with their own hands.
“We also had some great help from the local community, everyone has been incredible and very supportive,” added Altmiks. “We are ready to provide the community with a great product.”
100 Percent Cannabis is open 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.