Ubiquitous Canadian coffee-shop chain The Second Cup changed its business name to Aegis Brands last week, ahead of long-awaited plans to begin launching retail cannabis stores in the next calendar year.
In April of 2018, when the Second Cup inked its partnership with National Access Cannabis (which changed its name to Meta Growth recently), retail rules were undecided, and many still hoped some Canadian provinces would embrace a “coffeeshop” retail approach like that of Amsterdam.
The original Second Cup cannabis plan—launched amid Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s promise he would bring an unlimited number of private cannabis retail stores to Ontario—called for Second Cup to convert 130 of its Ontario locations to NAC’s Meta Cannabis Supply retailers on April 1 of this year.
When Ford adjusted the number of cannabis retail licenses from unlimited to 25, the companies suspended that project.
As Aegis Brands—the name change pending shareholder approval—the company will operate multiple properties, including Second Cup Coffee, and separate cannabis retail brands.
Aegis announced it will begin by opening two cannabis retailers in Calgary during the first quarter of 2020, while waiting eagerly for Ontario to open up its cannabis retail rules.
“Ontario is a great opportunity for a retail cannabis partnership to flourish. We believe location and service is key to winning when this market opens up, and we are well positioned for future success in this province,” said Aegis president and CEO Steven Pelton.