Nine workers have been laid off at the Tweed cannabis store in Winnipeg's Osborne Village, the company confirmed Friday.
The workers dismissed by Canopy Growth Corp.'s Tweed retail brand this week were mostly part-time employees, said Jordan Sinclair, Canopy Growth's vice-president of communications. Two other workers at the store also had their hours reduced, as did two people at Tweed's Regent Avenue location and two at the Tweed store in Brandon.
The layoffs leave 64 employees across Tweed's five Manitoba locations, which also include stores in Portage La Prairie and Dauphin. Sinclair said there were no cuts at Canopy Growth's three Winnipeg Tokyo Smoke stores or its location in Brandon.
"Really, what it boiled down to was our track record on retail really didn't exist," he said.
"We had e-commerce experience as a medical (cannabis) business, but Oct. 17 (the day last fall when recreational weed was legalized in Canada) was the beginning of a new business line for us. And we based our hiring, therefore, on some assumptions around customer service and how much staff need to be in the store at any given time, and we just had too many employees in the store at any given day, so we reduced the number.
"It was a tough decision, but in the long term I think it was the right business decision."
The affected employees were offered severance packages, he said. Despite the layoffs, Sinclair said "the demand does seem to be there" for Tweed's five licensed stores in the province.
Canopy Growth also laid off about 20 Tweed employees at stores in Newfoundland this week. Sinclair said all were all part-time and worked about five hours a week, on average. And Tweed is cutting hours for some employees in Saskatchewan locations.
"What we're talking about is people that were working very limited hours," he said. "And we think that what this will lead to is the remaining employees being able to view this as more of a career opportunity."
Canopy Growth doesn't have specific plans to open more Tweed stores in Manitoba, but "the market is great," he said.
"I think the market could support more stores, whether it's Tweed or Tokyo Smoke stores," he said.