Calgary Downtown Association: What is your position & how long have you worked with Superblend Cannabis?
Chad Wildman: I am the Operations Manager here at Superblend and I’ve been with the company since acquiring the former Plowshare/Divino space in September of 2019.
CDA: When did Superblend Grain Exchange open?
CW: We opened our doors for a soft launch the Monday of August Long Weekend - and haven’t looked back since.
CDA: What do you love about running a business in Downtown Calgary?
CW: We are a small Calgary-owned and operated collective, and always will be. Calgary is such an amazing city with an incredibly diverse community, and this is especially true when it comes to Downtown Calgary. When we were building our business plan and looking to classify the demographic for Downtown Calgary, this ended up being a ‘fool’s errand’. Anyone and everyone (with the exception of minors) from any walk of life could walk into our store at any time. And we love that! Part of our manifesto reflects our commitment to be stewards of our community and foster a safe, respectful workplace and retail shopping experience, and maintain an overarching culture that reflects our commitment to empower our Superblend Family (that includes all current and future customers who have shown us love and support) to be their authentic selves and feel free of marginalization of any kind. To quote Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to each other.”
CDA: Is there any interesting history behind your location?
CW: Finished in 1912, the Grain Exchange is one of Calgary’s first skyscrapers and was the first building in the city to have an elevator. Before there was oil and gas, there was farming and ranching. The Grain Exchange was the centre of commerce for Downtown Calgary. The building has a colourful history of tenants, from banks to a tailor shop, to one of Calgary’s first ‘love shops’, to Divino Wine Bar, and a few other restaurants along the way. The mahogany bar was built in the spirit of the original building (mahogany and copper) from the elevator in the Underwood Building. Incorporating these vintage elements has helped to create the special vibe we have going on for this location. The Grain Exchange now is a hub of unique, boho-esque independent businesses including tattoo artists, fashion designers, hair stylists and aestheticians. We embrace this building’s history, and where it once was a symbol of Calgary’s thriving economic development in the early 1900s, we are ecstatic to be able to tip our hat to this through offering a different kind of crop 100 years later… When you step into our streetside parlour, you’ll be reminded of a simpler time.
CDA: What's important for our readers know about Superblend Cannabis?
CW: Each member of our raggle-taggle, kitchen-sink Superblend family has a story to tell and brings something special to the table, but what brought us all together is a love for, and personal connection to, cannabis and cannabis culture. Superblend endeavours to challenge the status quo and change customers’ retail experience expectations. We entered the cannabis realm with one goal in mind: this needs to be fun. We have shaped our brand with the customer experience at the forefront of all we do. Our goal is to create a retail destination rather than the traditional transactional experience. The Grain Exchange is the first of three unique Superblend Cannabis retail locations. We will be opening another location in Ramsay (coming soon!), another located at the Superblend Feedmill in Ramsay/Inglewood, and another location further south. From Grain Exchange to Barley Belt, our joints reflect our roots.
CDA: Can you share a little about some of the challenges you’ve faced while opening a new business during the pandemic?
CW: The pandemic certainly has changed our forecasts from when we were in our planning phase. We were thinking we would be getting a lot of foot traffic from those heading in to work, spillover from local hotels from travelling business people and tourists alike, and those frequenting the awesome restaurants, bars and clubs we have Downtown (shoutout to our neighbours, Bar Patricia!). Needless to say, the foot traffic we anticipated is currently curtailed, but that said, we have seen an incredible influx of support from our local community which makes our hearts glow with appreciation and gratitude. With the new regulations, touchie-touchie electronic menus on tablets aren’t kosher, so we see an inherent shift back to a simpler time with menus displayed on walls, fitting nicely in line with our brand ethos.
817 1st Street SW
Sunday -Thursday 10am - 10pm
Friday & Saturday 10am - 12am