After a fast paced and successful career marketing some of Canada’s largest wireless and technology companies, Owen was ready to take back his time and start something of his own. He wanted to spend less time on conference calls and corporate politics, and more time with his wife and 3 kids.
With this in mind, Owen decided to team up with his wife Niki, a former banker and multi-nightclub manager with a knack for managing large teams, and together they set out to build something great.
Owen and Niki are known for getting things done, so when they decided to launch the Highland Cannabis dispensary, they got to work right away using their combined business acumen to build a powerful brand and business, while hiring experts to help them in the areas in the cannabis space in which they were unfamiliar.
To design the commercial space with a nod to the German heritage of the neighbourhood, they hired renowned commercial space designer, Benjamin John Ouellette, who helped them create a unique and noteworthy space, subsequently receiving the 2021 Decorating and Design Competition award for his work.
To acquire licenses and software insights, they hired Canndelta consultants to help them navigate legal technicalities of the industry. Canndelta led them to Cova, and Cova recommended KayaPush.
KayaPush was the all in one system that Owen didn’t even know he needed, until he realized it had everything he could need to run the store with ease.
The store was a success - Ranking as the top 20th store in the province, out of over 1,200 cannabis retail store locations.
Owen shared that with KayaPush, running their dispensary became a piece of cake thanks to the integrated and automated system.
The team uses the KayaPush features wisely: from onboarding, to building schedules, to time clock technology that has facial recognition to confirm the staff identity. Approved hours are then automatically streamed to KayaPush payroll, which ensures employees are paid accurately and on time, every time.
KayaPush completely eliminated the need for their accountant or a 3rd party vendor for payroll. Likely saving them up to 40 hours per week by automating administrative tasks.
The system is also a win because they use Cova as their POS system of choice. Because Cova and KayaPush integrate together, they have insights into sales vs labor reports that help the team make business decisions.
“KayaPush just takes the guesswork completely out of so many areas around staffing and payroll that I don’t even know how we would do it otherwise.”
It's a point of pride for Highland Cannabis that as a Mom and Pop shop they have such a slick high tech system that works so well.
Employees are both impressed and delighted by the KayaPush app on their smartphone, where they do everything from provide weekly availability, to receive their work schedule, to receive their paystubs and tax documents.
They have heard horror stories from employees who have joined us from other dispensaries - even large chains - about manually filling out spreadsheets and not being paid accurately or on time. They are so glad they have a system that can avoid this.
Highland Cannabis is a hearty operation. With almost 3,000 square feet of retail space, and a staff count of 26 it’s a people-heavy model. The store boasts budtenders who act as personal shoppers, educating you one-on one as you explore the varied product within the store.
But even with a high staff count, Owen and Niki are able to maintain priority one: Spending as much time as possible with their young kids during the summer months at their cottage in Northern Ontario, all while managing all store operations remotely.
Owen and Niki have made it - they feel they are selling happiness as their business doesn’t just provide a beautiful place to learn about new cannabis products with educated budtenders, it’s also a place to help people feel better thanks to its healing properties.
From a life working long hours in corporate, to running a 26 person operations from a cottage in Northern Ontario that has nearly over 200 5-star reviews on google, Owen and Niki have accomplished what they set out to do. And we are grateful to have been a part of the journey!