While some Vernonites are panic buying and stocking up on toilet paper, canned goods and fresh greens, others are stocking up on a different kind of green.
Several local cannabis stores are seeing an uptick in sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vernon Spiritleaf owner Sarah Ballantyne said she has seen an exponential growth in sales since March 15.
Staff from Vernon Cannabis are also reporting similar stockpiling trends.
“Sunday was our biggest day in a while,” Ballantyne said. “And sales have continued to double or triple since then.”
“It’s our normal customer base for the most part,” Ballantyne said. “But they’re basically doubling what they normally get.”
This stocking-up mentality may be due to customers’ fears that cannabis stores could be forced to close if the Provincial Health Officer makes that call, Ballantyne said.
Spiritleaf is open for the time being, she reassured, and will stay open as long as it can to serve the community.
The staff have maintained the store’s cleaning policy, but it’s amped it up a notch. The store is being cleaned more frequently in between customer visits and some apparatus has been put in place to create social distancing around the front counter.
Sniffer jars and other high-touch items were pulled more than a week ago when the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic.
Signage on the door of the 53rd Avenue store details the protocols put in place by the dispensary to protect its patrons.
Not much else has changed for Vernon’s Spiritleaf, although Ballantyne said she’s busy preparing records of employment for some of her staff who have returned from international travels and must self-quarantine for 14 days at home.
The staff is keeping morale high with creative social media posts and brainstorming new names for strains of cannabis as they await delivery of more product to ensure shelves are full.
Ballantyne said she’s doing everything to ensure customers are feeling safe. She is taking phone orders and preparing them in store for pickup, and she will do at the door pickups, but what she would like to see is the province to loosen its regulations to allow for cannabis stores to start delivering.
She said other Spiritleaf locations in other provinces are already doing deliveries, so she’s hopeful that may speed up the process, especially during these uncertain and unprecedented times.
“We’re all doing OK, though,” Ballantyne said about herself and her team. “We’re going to stay open as long as we can.”