LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard’s partnership with a cannabis retailer has yielded its first fruit as two Fire & Flower shops adjacent to Circle K convenience stores will open this week.
The shops, adjacent to Circle K stores in Grande Prairie and Calgary, Alberta, will open on July 10 and July 13, respectively. Both shops will be fully owned and operated by Fire & Flower.
The shops will use Fire & Flower’s Spark Perks loyalty program, which allows customers to order online and skip the line, receive access to deals and discounts and members-only events. They will also use Hifyre, a retail sales platform that leverages data to deliver personalized consumer and partner engagements.
These new locations are “expected to be the first of additional opportunities to co-locate cannabis retail stores in the future,” as Fire & Flower looks to expand globally, the company said.
“As we continue to build our relationship with Alimentation Couche-Tard, Fire & Flower is very pleased to be embarking on this initiative together,” said Trevor Fencott, CEO of Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. “We believe that combining convenient pickup locations with digital engagement offered by the Hifyre platform and Spark Perks program presents our customers with a differentiated value proposition in an increasingly competitive cannabis retail market. This approach to innovation in omnichannel and convenience-oriented cannabis retail differentiates Fire & Flower and positions us well to capitalize on both domestic and international opportunities.”
Couche-Tard expressed interest in retail-cannabis in June 2017 when it hired a lobbyist to represent its activity in the space. After Canada legalized marijuana in June 2018, Brian Hannasch, CEO of Alimentation Couche-Tard, told Bloomberg, that the retailer had “interest in the space” and that it was “something we can’t ignore.” By the end of 2019, Couche-Tard had invested in both Fire & Flower and Canopy Growth Corp., another diversified cannabis and hemp company, to sell recreational marijuana in Ontario.
Edmonton, Alberta-based Fire & Flower operates 50 cannabis retail stores in Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon territory. Its products include flower vaporizers, pipes, grinders, rolling papers, concentrate accessories, beauty items and more.
Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard is No. 2 on CSP’s 2020 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by size. Its network consists of about 9,900 c-stores in North America, approximately 6,000 in 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners, and the rest in all 10 provinces in Canada under the Circle K and Couche-Tard banners. It also operates or licenses stores in 22 other countries or territories worldwide.