Meet Kirk Anastasiadis, Windsor's newest cannabis entrepreneur
Anastasiadis won the opportunity to apply for a licence to launch Windsor's first legal cannabis retail store
London business owner Kyriakos (Kirk) Anastasiadis said he was in a meeting when the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced the winners of the province's second retail cannabis licence lottery.
"I didn't get a chance to check the winners," said Anastasiadis. "Once I stepped out of this meeting, I must have had 45, 50 missed calls."
He knew something important must have happened — and he was right.
Anastasiadis was randomly selected as one of 42 applicants across Ontario eligible to apply for a coveted cannabis retail store licence.
London entrepreneur, Windsor roots
Though Anastasiadis won an opportunity to apply for a licence to open a store in Windsor, the majority of the 30-year-old's current businesses operate in London, Ont.
That's where Anastasiadis owns Burger Burger, Mustang Sally's and The Barking Frog — bars and restaurants that are popular with local Londoners, college and university students and out-of-towners alike.
Anastasiadis's London connections might make him seem ill-suited to establish a business in Windsor — but he has roots in town.
His mother was born in the Rose City, and his brother helps organize the annual Windsor Ribfest.
"I look forward to meeting everyone in Windsor and working with them, and bringing this building and community," said Anastasiadis.
While most of Anastasiadis' experience is in the restaurant industry, he's been involved in the hospitality industry since he was a child, and said he's excited to learn new things about the industry.
"Anything like that excites me, and it's such a new thing," said Anastasiadis. "So we're pretty much getting in from the ground up, being in Windsor [as] the first [legal cannabis retail store] location."
An address on Ouellette Avenue
According to Anastasiadis's application, his goal is to establish Windsor's first legal cannabis retail space at 545 Ouellette Ave.
Anastasiadis said he looked across Windsor for an ideal space, ultimately settling on a spot in the city's downtown core.
"I'm really excited to bring more business to the downtown core," said Anastasiadis, who added that the space is well-located for U.S. customers visiting Windsor.
Anastasiadis is keeping quiet about his plans for the space, though he said he already has design plans in mind for the roughly 7,000 square foot space.
Anastasiadis said that he wants to establish a clean, modern space that also helps customers feel comfortable and welcome.
"We want people to feel comfortable," said Anastasiadis. "This is new to a lot of people, being able to purchase marijuana legally. We want it [to be a] very welcoming and a cool experience."
With files from Jason Viau