The outlet located at the heart of the city’s beaches focuses on organic and sustainable variants.

Late last year, videos of teenagers trying their hand at using a rotary phone went viral on the internet. Some tapped at it, others prodded at the holes, while a couple more just did not have a clue. But all-in-all, we were all amused on different levels, depending on what stage of the internet takeover we were born in. 

Toronto’s new cannabis retail store, The Neighbourhood Joint (TNJ), is creating a buzz among connoisseurs by bringing back to use an outdated communications system: the pneumatic tube system. The mechanism—inspired by the system used by newspapers like Toronto Star to send reports efficiently between buildings—is a key element at the outlet, located at 1987 Queen St. E. 

“The idea came about when we were faced with the challenge of having our storage room in the basement and our customers on the main floor. We quickly realized that having a “runner” physically run up and down the stairs, all day to deliver the product just wouldn’t be realistic or provide the best customer service. After doing some research we decided pneumatic tubes would be the perfect solution. On top of the functionality and increased speed efficiencies, it is a nod to Toronto’s newspaper history of using pneumatic tubes to deliver news between City Hall and the newsroom,” says co-owner Andrew Rhodes.  

Besides creating a spectacle that is a look back at the city’s history, the brand focuses on cannabis education and offers a wide selection of products with an emphasis on organic and sustainable variants. Staying true to their name, TNJ aims to become your one-stop source by offering a loyalty program which will have special deals and discounts for members.

HOLR speaks to co-owner Andrew Rhodes to find out more about what to expect at the store.

What drew you towards opening your first retail store in the beaches?

I grew up in Pickering, but always knew I wanted to move to the beaches. I would come to beaches as a teen/young adult and loved every minute of it. There is a strong sense of community on the beaches and that is something important to not only myself but our staff and business as a whole. Our goal is to grow The Neighbourhood Joint to be a seamless fixture within this community. The place in your neighbourhood where you know you are always welcome and no matter your background, age, or experience level with cannabis. We are here to ensure that you feel comfortable and get exactly what you want. 

What sort of products can customers expect to find at TNJ?

At TNJ we try to bring in only the highest quality products the Canadian market has to offer. This is true for all our categories; value, mids, premium, edibles, topicals, concentrates, you name it. We are consumers too and if we wouldn’t want to buy the product at someone else’s store, why carry it at ours? We have also put our focus on organics and terpene profiles. We do this to ensure our customers have the option to buy the cleanest, terpiest (might have just made that word up) cannabis out there. 

How has COVID-19 impacted the storefront’s opening?

COVID brought many challenges, mostly in two forms. The first was construction. We had to shut construction down for a period of time, and then when we started again we were forced to limit the number of workers on-site at the same time. This delayed the launch of TNJ by about a month. 

The second issue was hiring. We are trying to create a community at The Neighbourhood Joint and that comes from having a strong team. I think it is important to sit face to face with someone to get a solid understanding of what kind of person they are and whether or not they would fit into our family. Initially, we were forced to do zoom/phone interviews, which didn’t give us a complete picture of the candidates we were interested in. Eventually, we were able to sit down with everyone one by one and decide who we would like to go on this journey with.  

Can you tell us a bit about the recycling program you are implementing and why sustainability is important for TNJ?

The recycling program we are using is called TerraCycle. Customers can bring in their used cannabis packaging, and we ensure that all this excess packaging is responsibly recycled. It is very important to us not only from a business point of view but as humans. The world is flooding with garbage and plastic.  A lot of LPs use an excess of packaging, many of which cannot be recycled in a standard household recycling box. Although we may not be able to change how the LP’s package their cannabis, we can ensure that we are not adding to the problem and do our best to contribute to solutions.