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Cannabis Cottage, 385 Martin Street, Penticton BC

quaint cottage with sunflowers that sells cannabis
Cannabis Cottage was the first independent shop opened in Penticton after legalization

Cannabis Cottage, a licensed cannabis retail shop located in downtown Penticton, is the brainchild of Mariana Wolff and her husband Kevin, who is also the owner of Fun Water Pools in Penticton. Mariana, a Penticton local, was raised by parents who immigrated from Mexico to Canada, and she grew up in a household where her mother ran a day home, caring for her, her siblings, and other children from the community. Her father is a skilled mechanic who began working on cars when he was a young boy in Mexico, advancing to running his own shop for many years in Penticton before retiring last year.

On the other hand, Kevin, originally from the lower mainland, has established himself as a prominent figure in the pool industry in the South Okanagan.

Mariana's journey into the cannabis industry began after graduating from Pen Hi and pursuing a degree in Plant Biochemistry at UBC Okanagan. Although her passion for plants was always evident, she did not initially intend to enter the cannabis field. However, her career took a turn when she secured a job as a lab assistant at a tissue culture facility in OK Falls. This marked the start of her venture into the world of cannabis.

She further honed her skills at Mazza Innovations in Summerland, where she worked with chromatography lab technology in raw processing. Later, at Innovate Phytoceuticals, she delved into natural health product licensing, cannabis license consulting, and navigating complex regulations.

Mariana holds a tea cup full of cannabis pre-rolls
Mariana Wolff, owner/operator of Cannabis Cottage in Penticton, BC

Equipped with her vast experience and knowledge, Mariana felt ready to take on the role of an entrepreneur and embarked on the development of her business plan for Cannabis Cottage. However, the journey to opening the shop was not without its challenges. After securing a location and completing tenant improvements, they had a year-long wait for approvals from the City of Penticton, Province of BC, and Health Canada. This meant enduring the financial strain of a lease in the downtown core without any income.

During this time, Mariana and Kevin received the exciting news of expecting their first child, coinciding with the expected opening of the store. However, they faced a final delay with inspectors and their daughter arrived earlier than anticipated. Despite the demands of being a new mother, Mariana persevered, managing the shop's backend operations while entrusting the daily management to her longtime friend Andrew.

The building itself has some impressive history, built in 1914 and has been a family home, a TV studio, a cable TV distribution centre, and most recently a photography studio for 30 years. Over the years customers have stopped in to share their stories about visiting the building when it was a home, or getting their graduation photos done when it was a photography studio. The connection to the community now continues in the form of a pot shop!

The past four years since Cannabis Cottage's opening have been an adventurous ride. The labor strike in the fall of 2022 posed a significant challenge, causing many retailers to temporarily or permanently close their doors. Fortunately, Mariana's foresight and proactive preparations enabled her business to weather the storm more effectively than others.

The Wolff family poses with their newborn daughter
The Wolff family welcomed their daughter into the world weeks before Cannabis Cottage opened

Now, as the Cottage approaches its 4th anniversary, it is experiencing remarkable growth and gaining widespread brand recognition throughout the valley and beyond. Sales are increasing, and the business is extending its reach into the community by sponsoring local 19+ events, fundraisers, and hosting "Puff & Paint" nights in their enchanting sunroom, which provides space for a local artist.

It's fair to say that Mariana's journey from her early fascination with plants to becoming a successful entrepreneur in the cannabis industry is a testament to her resilience, adaptability, and foresight. With Cannabis Cottage's thriving presence in the community and its commitment to supporting local events and artists, Mariana and Kevin have created a remarkable business that continues to flourish.

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