There is a new cannabis production facility coming to North Grenville and its founders hope to become an integral part of the North Grenville community.
Nick and Jimmy Xidous first had the idea for Era Cannabis back in 2013, when they started reading about the possibility of Canada legalizing cannabis in newspapers and online. “I was like, wait, this is going to be huge,” Jimmy says. “I saw so much potential.”
Both Jimmy and Nick started educating themselves about cannabis soon after they first had the idea; but Jimmy says things really started to get serious in 2017 when the government started to shape the rules and regulations around cultivating cannabis in Canada. “Before it was super difficult, you didn’t really know what could happen,” Nick remembers. “It was just kind of like a shot in the dark where now there are actual road maps for how to get where you need to go in business.”
Nick and Jimmy’s family have roots in Kemptville. Their parents were the original owners of the Kemptville Family Restaurant and Jimmy was born in the Town. They sold the restaurant in 1986 and moved back to Greece, where Nick was born, for a few years, before coming back to Canada and settling in Arnprior. Their family now owns Steve and Denni’s Restaurant in Arnprior, which has been in operation for the last 30 years. An entrepreneur at heart, Jimmy has been running a chain of supplement stores for the past 10 years. “I was in the supplement and natural health industry as well, in manufacturing and packaging,” he says. “So that is going to come in handy with the cannabis industry.”
Nick says their upbringing and background has prepared them well to run Era Cannabis with care. “Even in the restaurant business you have to be very hands on,” he says. “You’ve got to know everything you are doing to get the best product at the end of the day.”
Nick and Jimmy have been working with a master grower for the past few years, so that they can really understand how to cultivate the best quality cannabis possible. They have also been working closely with a whole team of professionals, like architects and engineers, to make sure that their facility is state of the art and meets all the regulations outlined by Health Canada. They are aware of some of the concerns that residents have raised about things like odour and light pollution and Jimmy says they have done their due diligence to make sure that there will not be an issue. Nick says it has been great to see how engaged Council has been in making sure community concerns are heard and working with them to make sure that the outcome is beneficial for all parties. Anytime anybody has a questions about something, we get to the bottom of it and clear it up and we make sure that it’s the best positive outcome to make sure that everybody’s happy,” Nick says. “We want the community to be proud of the company,” Jimmy adds.
Nick and Jimmy have big plans for Era Cannabis, as they hope to become a household name in the industry across the country. For now, they are focused on building their facility and hope to get their building permit by the end of the year, with plans to break ground in the spring. They are planning on hiring as many local tradespeople as possible for the construction of the facility, and once it is operational they hope to hire 15-20 local people to work in the facility. “Eventually down the road I can see hundreds of people employed at this facility,” Nick says.
Era Cannabis will have its hand in every part of the cannabis production process, from cultivating, to processing and packaging, and will not be outsourcing anything outside of the community. “We’re going to be taking care of all of the logistics, whatever comes to this industry,” Nick says. “So that’s how we’re going to be able to really grow the economy and hire people and create more jobs and opportunities.”
No matter how large the facility gets, Nick wants to make sure that the heart and passion for what they are doing stays intact. “It needs to have a human touch always. It needs that compassion,” he says. “I believe that’s one of the main beneficial parts of this industry and especially whenever your cultivating, the love that you put in is what you are going to get out.”
Nick and Jimmy also have lots of ideas for products that they would like to bring to market, both for medicinal and recreational cannabis use. Their main goal is to cultivate the best possible product at reasonable and fair prices. “Everything that we create and make is going to be for the consumer,” Nick says. “That’s what we are always going to have in mind.”
According to Nick the pair is looking forward to being a part of this new and growing industry and are very thankful for the support they have already received from the North Grenville community. “We’ve had a lot of residents in North Grenville who have already private messaged the Era Cannabis Facebook page looking for work,” Jimmy says. “There’s a lot of people excited.”
Nick and Jimmy encourage anyone with ideas for the new facility to reach out via the Era Cannabis Facebook page or email Nick at [email protected]. They would also like to hear from any local trades people who might be interested in helping with the construction of the facility, as they will be going out to tender early in the new year. “It’s communities and people that make things evolve and grow,” Nick says.