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Highland Cannabis is among the Cannabis retail stores in Ontario creating opportunity for imploding hospitality industry.

KITCHENER, ON | DECEMBER 7, 2020 — The COVID-19 pandemic has imploded the hospitality job market as restaurant hours and business frequency continue to shift based on company location. In contrast, the Cannabis industry has been exponentially growing, with the opening of over 1000 cannabis dispensaries in Ontario and the creation of thousands of jobs.

Highland Cannabis, located on Highland Road in Kitchener, is among the cannabis retail stores opening soon and is looking to expand their team. Owners Owen and Niki Allerton will be hosting a virtual job fair from December 7 to December 12 in search of over 25 staff members of all experience levels to join their team. The positions will include budtenders, sales leads and management positions, with the common goal of seamless person-to-person interactions while following all COVID-19 social-distancing protocols.

“Customers are never asked to self-serve, and budtenders assist customers with every purchase—resulting in hiring of a huge team of up to 30 budtenders,” says Owen.

Leading the Highland Cannabis dispensary team will be Store Manager Shaun Waterman. Shaun was formerly the Front of House manager at The Storm Crow Manor in Toronto, overseeing a staff of 20 and hosting a space that accommodated over 300 guests. COVID-19 has now seen Toronto enter it’s second foray into lockdown removing any guest experience aside from take-out and delivery.

With 20 years in the hospitality industry, and his experiences as the Front of House manager at The Storm Crow Manor, Shaun’s expertise and passion for the hospitality industry is a perfect fit for Highland Cannabis’ customer service-oriented environment.

“We see a strong parallel in the industries: We want the customer experience with our budtenders to be similar to the best experience you’ve ever had with a server—energetic, positive and knowledgeable. Shaun’s track record of building and running great teams fit this bill and is a perfect fit for what we’re building at Highland Cannabis here in Kitchener,” says Owen.

Shaun expressed that the Pandemic is making fellow Hospitality Industries members pivot their skill sets into new ventures as more and more restaurants pause their operations or close entirely,

“The pandemic has allowed members of the hospitality industry to start rethinking their traditional roles and seek new opportunities outside of restaurants. The skills and experiences learned in the hospitality industry are transferable in many spaces—especially the Cannabis industry,” explains Shaun.

Most Cannabis retail stores rely heavily on technology to cut down on staffing costs through the use of self-serve tablets in store. Highland Cannabis differentiates itself from other retail stores through its unique approach where each customer is catered to by a budtender as a guide to their shopping experience.

While the building of a Cannabis shop during a pandemic continues to present its challenges, the Allerton’s have turned 2020 into the beginning of a new chapter for their family and for Cannabis in the community in Kitchener. The store is a milestone in their personal lives and gives others the opportunity to join a team that emphasizes exceptional hospitality and customer service. With over 1000 new Cannabis retail stores opening in Ontario, Highland Cannabis is one of the cannabis retailers softening the blow of COVID for those working in the hospitality industry.