Heidi Chartrand, owner and operator of Higher Living Wellness Center gave us an personal interview! We will be having Heidi on Carla’s Country Mile so stay tuned for times. Make sure you head over to their Facebook page and give them a like, check out their amazing articles, and inquire about their services. You don’t even have live in Dartmouth NS to benefit from this awesome community business!
(CCM) What is behind the concept of your business Higher Living Wellness Center?
(HC) Medical patients need access to resources of all kinds. Whether it is finding a compassionate doctor, strain consultations, educational classes, therapeutic treatments such as massage or just a safe place to use their medication. There is a significant lack of resources for those things locally when it comes to being cannabis related so we wanted to step in and fill that void
(CCM) How did you become interested in providing this service?
(HC) As a medical patient myself I quickly realized there were a lack of places to go and obtain information about cannabis. Many people naturally came to me because of massage therapy and then mortgage brokering with questions about cannabis once I came out of the cannabis closet. There was a HUGE void that needed to be filled so we stepped up to the plate
(CCM) What services do you provide?
(HC) We offer a retail store that is open to the general public which consists of papers, bongs, clothing etc. Our lounge is exclusively for patients and in the lounge we offer various types of classes. These classes range from cooking to growing to body energy and meditation. We have doctors available for Skype consultations to help people obtain their medical licences. We also offer safe medication services for patients only as well as consultations for specific conditions.
(CCM) Of all the services you provide which one seems to be the most popular with your clients?
(HC) Most definitely the consultations, safe medication services and use of the lounge
(CCM) How long has HLWC been active in Dartmouth?
(HC) It was a year in July
(CCM) How many employees do you have?
(HC) I have myself and one staff member but have several volunteers that help keep the place running
(CCM) How involved are you as the business owner in the day to day activities of the business?
(HC) I am very involved with the business. It is my baby, I need to make sure it is raised right!
(CCM) Have you been in business before HLWC?
(HC) If so what is it that you have done? Yes I have had a massage therapy business since 2005 and was also a mortgage broker for 5 years.
(CCM) What are you plans in the upcoming year for HWLC?
(HC) We are expanding to the valley so that is pretty awesome…we would also like to continue the BUD CRAWL and the High C’s Puffin Adventure as our yearly events
(CCM) Can you tell us what “a day in the life” of the owners looks like? Take us through your day.
(HC) OMG…each day varies greatly but typically starts with checking emails, fb messages, instagram etc….store opens at 9am so by 10 I have checked in with the staff and volunteers to see how things are going and if they need things for the store. From there we go on the hunt for cool new inventory to bring into the store and make our way there. The days are typically jam packed with meetings…some scheduled some are just drop ins….there is always a patient that is looking to reach out to talk to me about something. It is usually personal problems and strain consultations. We do a LOT of educating at our place. Lots of new patients have no idea what to do once they get their licence for medical cannabis. We spend a great deal of time connecting patients with doctors and helping them sign up with licenced producers or submitting forms to health canada to grow their own meds
(CCM) What is unique about your business that isn’t replicated by any other?
(HC) Presently there aren’t any other stores here in NS that are offering a COMPLETE cannabis wellness option where you can incorporate your meds into your therapeutic treatments. We also offer a VERY community based lounge where patients can volunteer to teach classes to help out their fellow community members.
(CCM) What are the biggest challenges you have in your business?
(HC) The biggest challenges are avoiding raids and government shut downs. With the upcoming legalization they are trying to close down the places like ours to make room for government run stores.
(CCM) What has been your greatest successes in your estimation?
(HC) Our greatest success was over coming the harsh harassment we suffered while in our Sackville location. We were only open for a month and a half there before the veterinarian beside us forced the landlord to lock us out, hold our belongings hostage and have to start all over again from scratch. It was a HUGE financial burden for us where we had just opened and hadn’t recouped the initial funds we had put into the place. We kept in contact with many of our patients and provided them with the best services possible while being mobile. Thankfully we found Rob, our amazing landlord in Dartmouth who welcomed us with open arms.
(CCM) There tends to be a high level of entrepreneurial spirit in the Maritimes due to the type of economy that exists here, what advise can you give others about starting a business project?
(HC) DO IT!!!! There is LOTS of ways to get support from various levels of government and I am sure they will open up more to cannabis related businesses over the years. I have always worked for myself since graduating and it is incredibly rewarding. Yeah it sucks you dont get paid vacations and essentially work many more hours than the typical 9-5 but for me personally it is very much worth it not to have to answer to someone else all day long!
(CCM) How do you keep a balance between a busy business life and your personal life?
(HC) The BEST thing about this business is that there is huge crossover with my personal life. Many of my dearest friends are also patients too so I really get the best of both worlds. The community for the most part is supportive of other stores and we try to work together as much as possible.
(CCM) What has changed for HLWC since coming on board as a sponsor of HGB?
(HC) We LOVE having Hippy Lloyd & Lil P come to our lounge on Monday mornings for “Hang Over Mondays” and sometimes we even get to host them for the “Fried-Eh” show and on occasion the evening one on Friday but I forget what that one is called #oops We got to meet some really awesome people along the way too! Shout out for Cat & Mad Mike 😉
(CCM) How did you come to hear about HGB?
(HC) There is a wild haired hippy that was hanging out at our place that kept saying all these really nice things about HGB…..kept talking to us about this radio show he wanted to do and asked if we wanted to be a part of it….how can anyone say no to Hippy Lloyd?!
(CCM) Would you recommend HGB to other business owners? If so why?
(HC) Sure would! We have had a lot of really great exposure with HGB and I heard the servers blew due to ALL THE LISTENERS!!! Plus like I said before, we got to meet some super awesome people. So happy we can be part of the HGB family!
We are pretty darn happy to be a part of the Higher Living family too! Support Your Local Businesses! Give them a like and go on down and visit them