Giving back to the community isn’t something new for Randy Tingskou.
He and his wife, Kayleigh MacAlpine, own A Little Bud cannabis dispensary in White Rock (as well as Summerland and Penticton locations) with business partner Martin McCarthy, and since opening the store two and a half years ago, they’ve donated thousands of dollars to local charities, including the Rotary Club of White Rock, White Rock Elks and BC SPCA, among others.
This month, the business is pledging to donate $48,000 to non-profit organizations in the local community.
“If you’re blessed with a business that can do some donating, then you should be donating,” Tingskou said Wednesday, while at the White Rock location.
“We believe being more than just a business in the community – we’re part of the community, too.”
Located on Johnston Road, A Little Bud is clean and quiet, with well-lit, informative displays that help educate customers about the wide variety of products offered, ranging from flower – the smokeable, trichome-enriched part of a cannabis plant – to edible gummies and treats, shatter, oils, CBD products, and even cannabis beers (which don’t contain alcohol) and sodas.
While cannabis is legal and has been for some time, there can still be a bit of a stigma when it comes to pot, Tingskou said.
“We want people to know cannabis is good for the community,” he said, noting that people of all ages come to the store for a wide range of reasons.
The store is also pet-friendly, with a fluffy white Samoyed happily hanging out with his guardian Wednesday, tongue lolling.
“We just feel so blessed to be able to do what we want to do for the community.”
Part of their commitment, Tingskou noted, is donating two and a half per cent of their profits to the communities they serve.
This month, however, they’re donating “significantly more” than two and a half per cent.
Their $48,000 is going to the White Rock Elks Club ($12,000), to UNITI (a partnership of Semiahmoo House Society, Peninsula Estates Housing Society and the Semiahmoo Foundation), to Sources South Surrey and White Rock ($12,000) and to Alano Abbotsford ($12,000), as they live in Abbotsford.
White Rock Elks head of charity and fundraising Bob O’Keefe noted the business is located close to the Elks club.
“We’ve gotten to know them a bit – they’re our neighbours and they’re very philanthropic,” he said.
“It’s a great way to start the year! We’re so appreciative.”
UNITI chief executive officer Doug Tennant said the donation – $1,000 a month over the next 12 months – will help with UNITI’s vision and work that is not funded by the provincial government.
“What we will be using those funds for is supporting people with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries to be leaders in the community and shift that paradigm of disability away from more of a custodial model to one where people with disabilities are leaders not just for their own cause but also for the community.”
One example is the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo, who brought beach wheelchairs to White Rock beach and Crescent Beach that the entire community can use, he said.
“It’s important to us to have a conversation with anyone who wants to support us, to see if their values and whether their mission and values match what we want to do in the community… so it was really good to hear and find out the support A Little Bud has given to the Elks and Rotary clubs and just their commitment to give at least two and a half per cent of their profits to charity,” Tennant said.
“That to me tells me they’re a group that is committed to building their community.”