Upon opening their doors in October 2018, after receipt of one of the City of Calgary’s first ‘batch’ of approved licenses hand-delivered to compliant retailers, BELTLINE Cannabis Calgary – assisted Greenline in identifying and developing POS features to assist with their business operations.
BELTLINE Cannabis Calgary, home of the Budtender™ was founded by local Calgarian Karen Barry. Karen, together with managing director, Peter Boyne bring plenty of entrepreneurial experience in both the start-up arena, enhanced by extensive wisdom from the consumer-packaged goods industry.
Karen was a 28-year career veteran in the commercial real-estate investment brokerage industry prior to the BELTLINE journey. The AHA moment came when she was approached by several other potential cannabis retailers to lease her wholly owned 1908 commercial zoned historic house. In making that significant decision, she recalled a primary business lesson – opportunity reveals itself at the time that you least expect. Are you paying attention?
The process of obtaining the retail license took about 8 months including a variety of legal and financial forms, as well as forensic investigative background checks and personal interviews. Despite industry and regulation challenges, Peter reports that their experience working with the AGLC and the city of Calgary has been professional, accommodating, fluid, and flexible.
As many of our retailers know, store atmosphere is critical to the business brand. As the BELTINE Cannabis team worked to prepare for opening, they turned to Calgary’s history for inspiration. Specifically, Karen wanted to share a taste of the rich Beltline district’s history, highlighting local heritage buildings with their customers and local community.
“I was inspired by a love for eclectic antiques and a desire to bring a piece of Calgary’s history into present day retailing.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
Items include a salvaged 1960’s vintage steel display case that originated from Lloyd’s roller rink, a former Calgary notable destination spot. As well, the store features a huge wall mural with destination markers for such distinguished historic buildings in the Beltline area including: the Nellie McClung House (circa 1908), the original Sherwin Williams homestead, and the former childhood home of Sir George Stanley, the designer of the Canadian flag.
Additionally, all items in the store were individually sourced, re-purposed fixtures and chattels. For the BELTLINE team, it was also important that their handi-lift for wheelchair accessibility was conveniently located at their front door to encourage participation from all segments of the community.
“Prominently including our handi-lift was important to us. We wanted it placed as if to say, ‘Welcome one, welcome all.’” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
The Beltline district in Calgary is densely populated with businesses, hotels, and residences – a fact that assisted in driving BELTLINE Cannabis’s success when they first opened on Oct. 30th, 2018.
Where many retailers experienced initial growing pains in their first month, Karen and Peter describe a relatively smooth ramp up in the opening month – one that undoubtedly credits itself to their past business experience and level of preparation.
“The first month was stressful and it was exhilarating indeed!” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
Having started with Greenline earlier that month, they were set-up and ready to use Greenline POS immediately.
“Greenline stood out. We interviewed 3 service providers for consideration – Greenline’s demo was comprehensive. It was simple, straightforward, cost effective, and operationally easy to use.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
As with all Greenline customers, Karen also enjoys a direct phone access to our support team during all hours of operation. As opening day neared, Karen and Greenline encountered a critical last minute issue. Together, Greenline and BELTLINE worked through a direct uploading of the AGLC compliant data needed to open the doors.
“Greenline delivered that HIGH PRIORITY, time-sensitive project with a less than 24 hour turn around. The Greenline team took the inventory and uploaded it for us – truly wonderful.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
The data upload task was done manually at the time by Greenline employees. Learning from this, a feature would be implemented into Greenline POS to automatically convert AGLC recorded products into the database.
“It was an extremely detail oriented task because everything was organic, manual, chaotic and last minute. In short, there was a great deal of information that required complete integration – Greenline got it DONE.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
“We’re glad to be working with Karen, as it is lessons like these that help our software constantly improve and better serve our cannabis community.” – Calvin Ho, COO
BELTLINE Cannabis Calgary’s success – as evidenced by highly positive online reviews, cult status budtenders™, and a locally loyal customer base also benefit from the BELTLINE philosophy on running their business.
“People come in happy, they purchase, and they leave happy. It’s a very basic human, in-person interaction that digital software and phones cannot replace.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
To meet this vision, the BELTLINE team set out to hire budtenders of all ages and backgrounds who could work professionally and portray cannabis retailing similar to any other retail business. Included in this strategy was Budtender™ 67 year old Janice Clark, a former pharmacy technician, several middle aged employees, and younger student employees to round out the team. Furthermore, with local issues in supply chain, Karen and Peter also faced the challenge by setting their hours from 12pm to 6pm every day, allowing them to remain consistent 7 days a week.
“The biggest problem is from the industry; we manage it as best we can.” – Peter Boyne, Managing Director BELTLINE
Maintaining this kind of consistency was a major business requirement for BELTINE Cannabis as it was vital for their customers to be able to conveniently drop in; Many of their customers live in the Beltline district, with others dropping by after work or from their homes located all over Calgary. BELTLINE Cannabis, positioned as a world class, one of a kind retail cannabis experience said they serve an increasing number of international tourists. Recently, patrons served include folks from Eastern Europe, the US, Asia and the middle east.
“At BELTLINE, we prominently highlight that Cannabis is for amusement not abusement and we promote a healthy and balanced approach to cannabis use.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
“There appears to be a great deal of chatter within this newly minted industry, however it is important that we all work together and deal with the industry issues as an industry, not a silo.” – Peter Boyne, Managing Director BELTINE
BELTLINE Cannabis continues to give us valuable feedback, as their team needs accurate and detailed reporting to make business decisions. It’s from their entrepreneurial drive for efficiency and data-driven decisions, that assists Greenline better understand the needs of our cannabis community.
“It’s a joy to deal with people who get it. Honestly, I have founded many a company and collaborating with the Greenline team is like dealing with me in business. They are efficient, focused, and always improving. Greenline understands our vision – I only wish I could clone the Greenline team for other projects.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
Working with her feedback over the past few months, Greenline POS implemented sales reporting (updated by the second) to see her LIVE inventory with markup estimates – allowing her to see the worth of her store at any given hour. We also implemented a variety of changes to include detailed inventory margins and data-driven feedback.
At the moment, Karen and Peter continue their business as usual, looking optimistically at any changes the industry might bring.
“It’s a new industry, and it can only get better from here.” – Karen Barry, Founder BELTLINE
At Greenline POS, we are excited to continue our work alongside BELTLINE Cannabis Calgary, we stand with them, optimistic for the future.
Learn more about BELTLINE Cannabis Calgary