North Island Cannabis, the first recreational cannabis shop on Vancouver Island to be licensed by the provincial government, is officially celebrating its first year in business in Port Hardy.
Owner Tristan Radzik and his wife Serena Neumerschitsky moved to town back in May of 2017, and they immediately knew this was the place they wanted to open up shop.
Radzik was born in Poland and immigrated to Canada in 1990. Neumerschitsky was born on Vancouver island, Langford specifically, and they met in Vancouver while she was going to university and Radzik was working construction.
Radzik is the main staff member at the shop while Neumerschitsky is a volunteer for the company.
When asked how the first year in business has gone, Radzik noted there were ups and downs. “We survived a logging strike that happened pretty much two months after opening,” he said, “so it’s been an uphill struggle, but I think expanding our hours really helped — we’ve opened up from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. now, and we’re open six days a week.”
He added that for a small business they have “endured a lot in our first year, and I’m really happy we’re here giving the public what they want. We’re hearing a lot of positives from the public that our business model and our attitude is exactly what they’re looking for.”
Radzik also noted that one of the biggest changes he’s seen happen to the cannabis industry over the year is “price drops, which have definitely been beneficial for our clients, and the diversity of the product has also really grown with CBD and edibles.”
The edible market in particular has been a game changer, added Radzik, as it offers people a way to the enjoy product without putting any stress on their lungs.
As for being the first government licensed shop on Vancouver Island, “We did not get any award or a plaque,” laughed Radzik. “Being first is still fantastic, though — lots of customers come in and say ‘oh you guys were the first ones on the island,’ and maybe one day we’ll get a plaque for it.”
Check out North Island Cannabis online at northislandcannabis.ca/