'First of its kind in SW Ontario': Farm-gate Cannabis Store now open

It's being billed as a unique “plant-to-consumer” experience.

"We provide all of the cultivation, processing and packaging services in our licensed facility in behind this building and bringing that great product to market under the Station House brand here to local consumers," said Tony Giorgi, founder and executive of Sensei Brands.

Station House Cannabis Co. by Sensei-Brands in St. Thomas, Ont. is the first store of its kind in southwestern Ontario, and the third in the entire province.

The farm-gate retail store at 150 Burwell Rd. is made from a refurbished shipping container, and modelled to look like a train car.

"It's a tribute to our market leading brand Station House, but more importantly, a nod to the city of St. Thomas known as the Railway City of Canada,' said Giorgi. "This certainly gives us an avenue and pathways to not only connect with the community here but also to destigmatize cannabis in the community and demystify it for the customer."Inside the store, they will be offering a first-of-its-kind viewing experience for future customers. Giorgi said that part of the dispensary will be complete in the next six months.

“Our phase two plan is to try to bring a more interactive experience to the consumer," he adds. "We're going to be building another flower room, eventually there'll be a window looking right into the plant so you'll be able to actually see the plants live growing as you're shopping within our store."

Growing from four, to more than 70 employees in the past 18 months, Station House immediately become one of the largest employers in the city.

"It's an awesome model like the farm-to-fork, where you are bringing it right from the grower to the table for the people that are going to be consuming," said Paul Jenkins, CEO of the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce."You know it's probably one of the flashiest looking businesses in St Thomas's Industrial park. This year we will celebrate any great news that we can have. To have a great organization, setting up shop in town to be bringing those jobs to our community, it's great news," said Jenkins.

Giorgi said he chose St. Thomas because of its skilled labour force, and proximity to industrial manufacturing.

Over the long term Giorgi expects to expand in the marketplace, and gain more market share.

"We're launching two new brands shortly which we're really excited to continue to add jobs and grow with the community,” he said.