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Fire & Flower and Circle K expand pilot program in Canada (for now)

Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower will open more stores over the next few months next to Circle K stores in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as part of the partners’ co-location pilot program, according to a news release.

The background

Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (which owns Circle K convenience stores in 25 countries) is a major investor in Fire & Flower, increasing its equity ownership to 19.9 per cent this past spring

In July of 2020, the first two Fire & Flower stores in the company’s co-location pilot program opened in Calgary and Grand Prairie, Alberta, with the goal of drawing traffic to Fire & Flower cannabis shops from Circle K stores. 

The strategy

Those initial co-locations were a success, according to the release, which is why more are coming to Canada in the coming months. The pilot’s success could also be a major advantage in the not-yet-federally legal U.S. market and elsewhere as cannabis policies change.

“Canada was always meant to be the testing grounds for the company, according to Fencott,” wrote New Cannabis Ventures in January. “The partnership with Couche-Tard, which has thousands of stores in 25 countries, means Fire & Flower ultimately wants to be in each of those countries where cannabis is legal.”

The HiFyre edge 

The news release also emphasized the additional advantage of the retailer’s HiFyre technology, which incentivizes consumers to share data with the company. Fire & Flower CEO Trevor Fencott said those key analytics will ensure visitors find the products they want.

 “As we continue to advance our relationship with Couche-Tard, we are driving a new level of service to our extensive operational footprint in Canada and beyond.” 

Business of Cannabis will be watching the “and beyond” expansion very closely. Recall the opening of Fire & Flower’s first US store in California earlier this year.

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