Village Bloomery is a Vancouver dispensary that’s redefining the cannabis consumer experience. Located on West 2nd Avenue, the shop opened its doors in 2015, and co-owners Andrea Dobbs and Jeremy Jacob haven’t looked back since.
With an emphasis on accessible education, the Bloomery features an open concept layout and welcoming store design, as well as many friendly staff members and tons of readily-available information on offer for the curious first-time cannabis user.
All products sold in the store come from producers that that self-regulate at a very high level and that work directly with growers. That’s why five trusted vendors were selected from hundreds of options and the Bloomery store is in the final stages of receiving its municipal license right now.
Daily Hive spoke with the duo behind Village Bloomery to find out more.
Who are you?
(A) Well, I’m Andrea.
(J) And I’m Jeremy.
(A) We’re life and business partners. This is our first joint venture besides renovating a house and having kids. Most of my work has been in retail and retail design. I’ve worked for great companies like The Body Shop, Ikea, and Womyn’s Wear Inc. Way back in the day, I opened the Cafe du Soleil on The Drive.
(J) I’m a mechanical engineer focussed on innovation, design, and refining systems. I spent about 15 years working in renewable energy, and for 10 years I ran a contracting business doing custom GeoExchange installations.
What is the Village Bloomery?
(A) The Bloomery is what happens when two people with very different skill sets share a common vision. We recognize our differences as strengths so it works. The Bloomery represents where we’d enjoy shopping for cannabis.
(J) The Village is our answer to “What would a dispensary look like if cannabis was completely normalized?”, the design and feel of the space evolved around that. It gave us a clean slate to work from.
What were the fundamental reasons behind launching the Village back in 2015?
(A) Jeremy used cannabis both socially and therapeutically, I, on the other hand, didn’t have much experience with it so I stayed clear until perimenopause began to challenge me. I loved what cannabis did for me and wanted to share that. I was looking for a dispensary and after about a week I came home and said: ‘We need to do this’. I’m full of ideas but this time Jeremy said: ‘I can get behind that.’ It was a chance to make a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s been fully engaging ever since.
How has the cannabis landscape in Vancouver changed since you first started?
(J) When we started looking at the industry in 2013, there were only nine or 10 shops. By the time we had finished writing our business plan there were 29 and by the time we opened our shop in June 2015, there were about 90. Three weeks after we opened, the City introduced its bylaw program, and then, of course, federal legalization came into play, so a lot has changed.
What sets the Village apart from other dispensaries in Vancouver?
(A). Every business has a unique vision. For us, it’s vitality through healthy living and mindful integration of cannabis. To get to that place you need to become educated and you need access to quality products. We’re just sharing what’s authentic to us and that resonates with people.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced since setting up the Village Bloomery?
(A) For me, it’s been navigating the quick landscape changes. We’ve had to stay really nimble.
(J) We knew the politics in the industry would be huge. In my work with CAMCD, I’ve been engaged with the federal, provincial and municipal governments for the past two years. It’s been a challenge but I’ve learned a lot. It’s been worth it.
How do you feel your business will be affected when cannabis is legalized in Canada?
(A) I know it’ll be an adjustment but we’ll keep our focus on quality and innovation. It’s still about getting people better acquainted with the plant and promoting health and wellness
(J) We’ve got beautiful products from BC artisan producers, and we’re looking forward to these small businesses getting licensed by Health Canada ASAP. As it stands, they have to wait for micro license applications to be produced. It could take about a year for that to happen so we’ll need to be patient while we wait for the regulated market to catch up.
What makes BC cannabis culture unique from the rest of the world?
(J) In BC, we’re about 25 years ahead of the rest of Canada in terms of awareness and the normalization of cannabis. BC’s cannabis activists have been tireless, and I think it’s safe to say we’re a key force behind legalization in Canada. We have generations of growers, breeders, and processors in BC, these guys are some of the best in the world.
What role do you think cannabis dispensaries will play in Canada going forward?
(J) They’ll be the bridge between people and cannabis. Humans have been using cannabis for millennia, prohibition was an unfortunate blip in history. Dispensaries will help people reconnect with cannabis and live healthier, happier lives.