"The Friendly Stranger receives $5 million investment for expansion" - CCN

As the Friendly Stranger celebrates its 25th anniversary, the iconic cannabis culture shop has received a total of $5 million to grow the brand from several investors.

Friendly Stranger store front

VIVO Cannabis Inc. and 48North Cannabis Corp have both made a $1.25 million strategic investment in the Friendly Stranger Holdings Corp. As well, Green Acre Capital has committed a $2.5 million investment in addition to its original investment in October 2018.

The cash will help the company achieve its aggressive growth strategy, including opening additional cannabis culture accessory stores as well as launching premium adult-use cannabis retail locations across Canada. 

“For 25 years, Friendly Stranger has been a champion for cannabis, devoted to activism, community and culture. Friendly Stranger has always been more than a store. It’s a home of vision, advocacy, unity and acceptance,” said Robin Ellins, the co-founder of Friendly Stranger.

“We’re on a mission. We want to connect Canadians through cannabis. We want to build a community of togetherness. With the investment from our partners, and the opening of the second Ontario retail lottery, we are able set the stage for many more years of success.”

In addition to the financial investment, 48North, VIVO and Friendly Stranger have entered into a preferred partnership agreement. Through the agreement, the three companies will collaborate on obtaining Friendly Stranger’s cannabis retail licenses, conduct in-store events and leveraging co-branding opportunities.

“We are very excited to announce 48North’s strategic investment in the Friendly Stranger. With a focus on high-quality, sun-grown cannabis from Good:Farm, future focused next-generation cannabis products, and premium grown cannabis from its northern facility delshen, 48North looks forward to having its products available for future Friendly Stranger customers,” said Jeannette VanderMarel, co-CEO of 48North.

“48North’s partnership with Friendly Stranger takes 48North one step closer to becoming Canada’s most loved, trusted and valued cannabis brand.”

VIVO CEO Barry Fishman noted their Our vision aligns well with the advocacy and community-building work Friendly Stranger has achieved over its 25 years. 

“We are excited to invest in Friendly Stranger and to establish our preferred partner relationship, which will allow for collaboration to spread our shared belief in the role cannabis can have to help Canadians,” Fishman said. “We believe trusted retailers are integral toward meeting increased demand among recreational adult-users. In conjunction with our medical cannabis business, we have actively sought strategic partnerships with retailers in order to establish strong relationships with leaders in the cannabis industry.”

Established in 1994 on Queen Street West in Toronto, Friendly Stranger is possibly Canada’s most iconic cannabis culture shop.  

In 2018, after an investment from Green Acre Capital, Friendly Stranger established Friendly Stranger Holdings Corp and announced an expansion plan to open additional retail locations across the country.

In 2019, FSHC acquired Happy Dayz. With the merger, FSHC now operates 10 retail locations in Ontario with more tham 200,000 customer visits per year.

“We look forward to welcoming VIVO and 48North to the Friendly Stranger family,” said James Jesty, president of the Friendly Stranger Holdings Corp. “With these strategic investments, we have additional capital to execute the first phase of our growth strategy to scale and evolve the business.”

*Copied from original article from Canadian Cannabis News (CCN)