Medical cannabis dispensaries come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some examples of dispensaries that have set a high bar for industry designers, each appealing to a different niche and personality.
1. The Gallery
No frills decor can be done right with the proper curator. Finding local artists who want to hang their works in your dispensary can create a buzz with your customers and while also supporting the community you’re in. Finding an artist that’s “420 friendly” can also help bring in business when they let people know you’re showing their work. The potential clientele you attract is educated and will spend more time in your business, always good for buying. You don’t have to sell a ton of art, either. Just don’t buy it. Some of the worst decisions I’ve seen were spending money that could have gone to improving furnishings on pieces that didn’t move or didn’t fit the space.
2. The Showroom
The hottest trend in dispensaries right now is the open air style of shops like Frosted Leaf and Euflora. Display jars are situated on tables in the center of the room instead of in glass cases like many first movers. Raw product isn’t accessible by simply opening the lid, however, as small holes in the top let customers smell but not touch. This allows many people access to a dispensary at once and reduces the number of staff that need to be on hand to open jars and explain strains. Orders are usually placed via tablet, touch screens, or by dry-erase boards and given to a cashier who rings them up. Initial costs are high and service may decrease, but many rave about the atmosphere.
3. The Spa
For medical marijuana facilities, presenting a calming, health oriented space can do a lot to put patients at ease that may not be familiar with therapeutic cannabis. Often times they’re not looking for a loud, in-your-face place that has bongs sitting everywhere they can fit. Bright, clean whites and blues project wellness and can lead to a perception of a luxury product that is worth paying more for. It’s also a great way to reach women who can be turned off by more dorm-esque atmospheres. Wood flooring, indoor plants (that aren’t marijuana), and water features are musts.
4. The East
One of the best examples I can think of is Lodo Wellness Center, who hired Andrews Construction and Consulting to do a total revamp of their basement-level dispensary. From most of the pictures, it looks more like a reading area (or possible opium den) than any form of dispensary. Low-sitting chairs, oriental rugs, and ornamental statues give the place a comfortable feel that many appreciated while waiting for long lines. While I’ve never seen many people just hanging out down there, this can be a great idea if you’re looking to hold patient education sessions, have a staff meeting, or just need a sofa to crash on after a long day at the dispensary. A little Zen never hurts when dealing with the stress of marijuana businesses.
5. The Bank
File ‘em in, get ‘em out. Having multiple points where you can execute sales allows you to decrease wait times while still giving individual attention to orders. Denver Relief has a terminal at each end for conducting transactions, while using the middle areas to educate patients on products. As soon as they’ve made their selections they can slide down and pay. Dividers also provide a little privacy while people talk instead of an open environment where sound tends to travel. Still, with more people comes more noise, so look into sound dampening panels if your space tends to be on the louder side already.
6. The Everything
Have trouble self-editing? Why bother! Just carry a little bit of everything. A majority of shops I’ve seen fall into this category, with a hodgepodge of different art, products, and aesthetics all mashed together. While it can project a messy outward appearance, most younger guys are just happy you’ve got glass cleaner and novelty t-shirts. The further you deviate from one of the established motifs listed above, the more you’ll notice you fall into this category. If you notice this happening, look back to your mission statement, core ideals, and make a decision. Pivoting isn’t always bad, but you don’t do yourself any favors by not committing in either direction.
So, which type of dispensary would you prefer to frequent? Someplace peaceful and relaxing, techy and modern, or a place with a funky personality and some kitsch? Share your thoughts in the comment area below: