The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has announced the “winners” in their “lottery draw” of 42 new bricks-and-mortar cannabis retailers for Ontario. The good news is that there’s a store coming to Kitchener, but the better news is that there’s one coming to downtown Guelph.
As released by the AGCO this morning, of the 11 new retailers approved by the Government of Ontario in the western region, one new licence will be going to a Guelph business. The applicant is named in the release from the AGCO, and the Guelph business person awarded the licence is John Reynolds.
The application also lists the address for the new business as 120 Wyndham St. N., which is presently an empty storefront just north of St. George’s Square.
All of the 42 applicants approved in today’s announcement will now have one week to apply for the formal cannabis Retail Operator Licence and Retail Store Authorization. As opposed to the first round of applicants announced back in January, people who submitted expressions of interest for this round had to demonstrate that they have already secured an appropriate retail space, and that they have access to the capital funding that’s need to open a store.
In May, it was reported that fewer than half of the original 25 licencees had opened their retail locations on April 1. Nine applicants were penalized financially for missing deadlines, or were delayed in opening their retail outlets, hence the new government requirements in the second round of licences.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Guelph has been selected for a retail cannabis shop. In April 2018, the LCBO announced that an Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) would open in Guelph at 304 Stone Rd. W., but all those proposed locations were canceled after the 2018 Provincial Election when the Progressive Conservatives came to power, and came up with the strategy for a private business ownership model for retail pot.
Last month, the Guelph Mercury Tribune reported that the LCBO signed around $1.2 million worth of contracts, including over three-quarters of a million dollars for renovations, to turn the 304 Stone Rd. W. storefront into the OCS. The Mercury Tribune could not determine how much money was paid out on those contracts, or if the government is still paying rent at that location and honouring the signed lease.
The 42 applicants awarded today will be expected to have their stores open and ready to receive customers by October.
Of the other 10 applicants in our area, two were approved for London, and one each was approved for Hamilton, Welland, Windsor, Stoney Creek, Niagara Falls, Ancaster, and St. Catherines. The Kitchener location will open at 589 Fairway Rd. S. which is just down the road from Fairview Park Mall in a retail plaza.