Since Friendly Stranger opened over 26 years ago as a cannabis accessories shop, it has been a consistent space for cannabis activism, community and culture. Now that they are licensed for cannabis retail, the growing team is bringing Friendly Stranger’s homegrown cannabis culture to Burlington and London, Ont., as well as a new Church Street location in the heart of Toronto’s LGBTQ2IA+ community. So how does an iconic store scale its nurturing, community-focused formula without losing its knack for education? “We have a pretty intense training program that each one of our experienced associates goes through before they hit the floor,” says Kathryn Long, vice-president of marketing and communications.
With each purchase, Friendly Stranger gives out flyers and written materials to educate the customer about consumption or the products they’ve selected. Each shopper also gets a Puff Puff Passport, an educational consumption journal that is only found at Friendly Stranger. It contains about 30 pages of key information about cannabis and cannabis accessories, followed by fun activity pages (for adults only).
Friendly Stranger has also built a “community room” in many of their shops, where they can host Cannabis 101 sessions (although these will be virtual for the remainder of 2020). Their goal is to go the extra mile to make guests feel like they are not only shopping for products but are a part of the cannabis community.
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