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MILLENNIALS IN FRANCHISING

PUTTING THE “CAN” IN CANNABIS How millennial franchisee Jasper Ly started a successful Spiritleaf franchise during the challenges of 2020 BY KAREN STEVENS

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ctober 17th, 2020 marked the two-year anniversary of cannabis legalization in Canada, and that same day was when Jasper Ly’s Spiritleaf location opened its doors to the public. Starting your own business is challenging enough but add a brand-new industry and a global pandemic to the mix, and you’ve got a unique situation that calls for extraordinary flexibility and persistence. At age 30, Ly is a confident millennial business owner whose ability to pivot and roll with whatever life throws at him is essential to his success. Spiritleaf runs like a typical retail franchise system; however, as the product is recreational cannabis, the industry has some unique considerations. Ly says that the system stands out because they like to onboard local entrepreneurs to operate in their own communities. “They also have a really unique motto and culture, and their message is very positive; I think it ties in really well with cannabis culture.” While Ly’s Scarborough, Ontario location has only had the doors open for a short time, this opportunity was years in the making. His journey from Ryerson Business School graduate to franchise owner was influenced by his experience working at a WATCH IT! franchise shortly after graduation. At first, he worked the retail side on the sales floor, but as time went on, he gained more responsibility and was soon managing a few corporate locations. From there, he expanded to working with other franchise partners in the network.

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