In the spring of 2018 came a flood a new retail landscape was getting carved out in Canada, as legislation took shape to finish the prohibition on recreational cannabis inside the year. On the final stretch of the road to legalization, a surge of retailers scrambled to set up shop. They competed for space and raced to establish brand identity even as they speculated on licenses and regulations.

“It was one particular of the fiercest true estate battles I’ve ever noticed,” recalled Darren Bondar, President and CEO of Inner Spirit Holdings, speaking a year later to an audience at the Cannabis & Hemp Expo in Calgary.

His company’s retail notion, Spiritleaf, had currently turn into the biggest cannabis retail franchise in Canada. 5 retailers open in Alberta and Saskatchewan, a sixth set to launch in Kingston, Ontario – one particular of the pretty very first in the province. Huge image: a hundred retailers in numerous stages of improvement across Canada.

“I enjoy the franchise model,” Bondar stated. “I have nearby owners and operators who are invested, living and operating in their communities, incorporating various components of that neighborhood with the Spiritleaf brand. It is confirmed to be genuinely thriving and a great model for us.”

An ambitious model. A single that posed further challenges. And that is saying anything in an sector fraught with additional than its fair share of hurdles, each distinctive and ubiquitous.


“Ensuring that you are complaint, maintaining up with the ever-altering regulations, these are the challenges,” Bondar stated.  “And it appears to adjust each and every day, in between inspector, province and agency. It is complex, it is frustrating at instances, but we’ve just got to maintain trailblazing and operating by means of it.”

Bondar’s 20 years of retail expertise instilled the value of operating with sector partners who could maintain up that trailblazing pace. When Spiritleaf chose Cova’s POS application to energy their franchise, it was, to be particular, soon after cautious consideration.

Cova had compliance covered: inventory reporting, buy limit alerts, age verification—automation to lessen human error. The type or errors that could jeopardize a retail license.

Confident, other application did that as well. What set Cova apart was how its POS not only decreased human error, but also streamlined the mastering curve with a user-friendly style.


“How this point of sale technique appears is a significant component of it,” Christine Kitz told Cova just weeks just before the opening of Spiritleaf’s milestone Kingston retailer. As the company’s operations manager, she appreciated the system’s sleek appeal and intuitive user-interface.

“How straightforward it is to use, how interactive and intuitive it is—those are all genuinely significant points,” she stated. “I’ve worked with point of sales more than the years and—especially when you are franchising—you require anything that is user-friendly for these who have by no means run a business enterprise just before. You do not want that to be their most significant hurdle, since they have so significantly additional to deal with.”

In a marketplace only not too long ago legitimized, inexperience was somewhat anticipated. Spiritleaf’s franchise model invited a diverse breed of intrepid entrepreneurs, but numerous have been entirely new to the sector.

“Each franchise companion is distinctive in their challenges,” Kitz stated. “But I consider inexperience is our most significant. Cova has been terrific with its assistance hub. That is a terrific spot for us to send our franchise partners when they have concerns.”


Of paramount value to Spiritleaf was obtaining a application companion who not only stood behind their solution, but also proved prepared to take it in new directions.

“We looked at a quantity of various businesses,” Kitz explained. “We located that Cova genuinely addressed a lot of the requires that we had, and the points you didn’t genuinely have constructed, you have been pretty prepared to function with us to get exactly where we require to go, which was genuinely fascinating for us.”

“Usually, when you are signing up for anything, you have astounding assistance, and everybody’s there for you. And then you sign on, and everyone disappears. Cova has been genuinely supportive, and usually there, operating with us in terms of a partnership, which is anything we genuinely appreciate.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Bondar the audience in Calgary. “We spent a year hunting at point of sale systems, and getting been in retail for 20 years, it is anything we knew we wanted to get appropriate. For any retailers, if you haven’t selected a point of sale technique, I’ll save you a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars in bearing negative systems—Cova is your winner.”

Discover additional about what Cova can do for your dispensary by scheduling a totally free demo currently.