High5 Retail just opened its second store, located at 732 Tyee Road in Vic West — after opening the first location in Duncan last October. (Provided by Jas Basi)

New cannabis store promotes ‘Island vibe’ with livable wages and local ownership

High5 Retailer opens second location in Vic West

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A new cannabis retailer is hoping to bring the “Island vibe” to the marijuana industry with local owners, local employees and a focus on the customer experience.

High5 Retail has launched its second store — located at 732 Tyee Rd. in Vic West — after opening the first location in Duncan last October.

Life-long Cowichan Valley resident Keepy Johel, founder and owner of the store, spent more than 20 years in the RCMP Auxiliary Constable Program getting to know the ins and outs of the community. Now, he wants to bring that sense of community to his store that he runs with his wife and three children.

READ ALSO: ‘B.C. bud’ cannabis still underground, John Horgan hopes to rescue it

In keeping with his community roots, the most important aspect to the store for Johel was making sure those who worked there were paid a living wage and provided benefits.

“If you look at the cannabis industry, the average age of the employee is 21 to 27 years old so it’s important for them to maintain their health and dental without breaking the bank,” said Jas Basi, spokesperson for the store.

High5 supplies dried cannabis, cannabis oils, sprays, edibles and accessories, with a focus on education for non-medical users. According to Basi, the hope is to see the store expand on the Island and then eventually take the “Island vibe” to the Lower Mainland.

READ ALSO: WATCH: Langford’s first legal retail cannabis store officially open

“The Island vibe is small town, small stores, personal service, getting to know the customers’ names,” said Basi. “It’s not a big-box store type of operation.”

As a way to further give back to the community, High5 will be donating $100,000 to the City of Duncan to go towards programs such as addiction counselling and cannabis education. High5 also offers a 15 per cent off discount to military members who shop at the store.

In addition, Pineapple Express opened recently at 608 Esquimalt Rd., adding to the three other established brands in Greater Victoria which include The Original Farm, Cloud Nine Collective and Clarity Cannabis.


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