Conrad Floyd considers himself an unofficial resident of Niagara, particularly Crystal Beach.
“I’ve been coming here every summer since I was a little kid,” said the Hamilton-based cannabis entrepreneur.
Since he has such fond memories of his time spent along the shores of Lake Erie, Floyd decided to open a cannabis shop in Crystal Beach.
“Why not have my business where I love to hang out?”
Village Cannabis opened Jan. 29 on Ridgeway Road, the first cannabis shop to open in Crystal Beach.
“We offer a non-corporate feel, a fun feel…after all, cannabis should be fun so that’s what we’re all about,” Floyd said.
He has plans to launch five additional Village Cannabis outlets, including one slated to open in Port Dover in March.
With his retail operations in full swing, Floyd said he had to put his plan to convert a former derelict hotel in Niagara Falls into a “cannabis-friendly” hotel on hold.
The Pink Elephant Inn was to be a 37-room complex on Lundy’s Lane, with marijuana provided as part of the room rental.
He had hoped to host cannabis markets on site, as well as car shows and food truck events.
However, the project went up in smoke in April 2020 after a fire destroyed the building.
“Financially, I can’t hang on to it,” Floyd said. “If someone came around and invested, then I’d still love to finish it but if not, I have to sell it.”
Recreational cannabis was legalized by the federal government in 2018.
The province introduced a number of private retail stores the following year that are overseen by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
There are now a number of shops across the region, including Choom and Canna Cabana in Niagara Falls and Niagara Herbalist and Corner Cannabis in St. Catharines.
There are currently multiple applications before the AGCO for additional dispensaries, including three in Fort Erie and more than a dozen in Niagara Falls.