The former thrift shop located at 1300 Cariboo Highway in Clinton—known to many residents as “the Blue Barn”—could soon find itself a new nickname. For now, however, the bud barn is home to the Village’s new cannabis retail store, Cynders. The shop’s exterior is still painted the same sky blue that locals and passersby alike have come to recognize, but the building’s interior is now unrecognizable.
Walking into Clinton’s first retail cannabis store is like entering a green jungle garden. The shop has a modern feel, with clean-cut designs, plenty of display space for product, and a plethora of tropical plant life that is still acclimatizing to Cariboo conditions.
“Dispensaries are all different,” says Cynders’ owner, Sherri Zigarlick. “We try to make it comforting. I told Jake I can make it pretty, it’s the rest of it that I need help with.”
Sherri runs the business with her son, Jake. The duo opened the doors of the community’s first recreational cannabis shop on Friday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m., and shop manager Jordan Johnston expects that a bit of medicinal smoke will roll in over the weekend.
Johnston manages Cynders’ social media and is also the business’s go-to “techie”. She and Zigarlick both live in Clinton, where they recently welcomed their first child.
Cynders’ grand opening marks a milestone for the Zigarlicks, who are both new entrepreneurs. Their first venture is a family-run business.
“Family and friends,” says Sherri, whose past renovation experience was helpful throughout the process. Jake was able to bring his carpentry skills to the business, and other family members and friends pitched in to help.
The family did most of the renovation work for the shop’s new interior themselves and have set up security systems for the space, which is located off Highway 97, across from one of the Village’s popular antique shops, the Clinton Emporium.
Cynders is also located within sight of the local police station. “The location is a bonus,” says Sherri.
The idea for Cynders came to them like something of a phoenix rising from the ashes. The mother-son duo crafted their business vision amidst a backdrop of flames and wildfire smoke, Sherri recalls. “We tossed around the idea and finally we just said ‘Yes, okay, let’s do it.’”
Shoppers inside the dispensary may notice the colourful sunset pictured throughout the store: a photograph taken by Sherri’s husband back in 2017. “It was actually taken across the street, at the car wash, so it’s showing literally right over top of this building, when the fire was here,” she says.
There are currently cannabis dispensaries available to the public in Williams Lake and Kamloops, which are both more than 100 kilometres from the Village of Clinton. “A lot of people don’t shop in their own town, so they can come by here, shop, then go home,” says Sherri. The Zigarlicks plan to have monthly customer prize draws as well as holiday draws.
They started their application process in October 2018 and said the ordeal was long, expensive, and a little unfair.
“It wasn’t our plan to do it this way, it was the government’s,” says Sherri. “A lot of people started this not expecting [to have to wait] a year.”
Cynders will offer a variety of cannabis products, including various strains of flower as well as smoking and vaping accessories. Pre-rolls and some edibles will also be available, but the Zigarlicks hope to expand their products as the business grows, and will also accommodate any changes in government regulations.
“We know the [paperwork] part of it now, the experience.”
Sherri is originally from Ontario, and has chosen many Canadian suppliers for the shop. “We’re not Toronto, so what I did was got a lot of variety of everything.”
With colourful dinosaur-shaped pipes and moustache-bedazzled bongs, Cynders feels both modern and whimsical. The shop features some brand-name products, too, while also offering a variety of price ranges for customers.
So far, Sherri has noticed support from many community members.
“I expect everyone to drop in at some time and look at it,” she says. “They’ve been to the thrift shop, and this will be a surprise.”
The municipality has been very helpful, she adds. “They’re looking forward to this. They’re just as excited as we are.”
Cynders’ official shop dog, Violet, will be onsite to greet customers at the door and help her human counterparts. Shoppers are encouraged to snap a photo with her, using the hashtag #ImetViolet to share their visit on social media.
Cynders currently employs a total staff of eight people and will be open seven days a week, with Thursday to Saturday hours set at 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For their full daily business hours, and more information,visit Cynders’ Facebook page or website at Cynders Inc.