By: David Auger-Villanueva M.A.
There seems to be a cannabis store popping up on every street corner in the city. Must be a good reason, right? There is. If you get it right, they’re like a license to print money. They can be absurdly lucrative. So, if you’re on the fence about it; you should probably jump off on the side of ‘building it.” But before you do, here are five things to consider.
- Branding: Like I said, there’s lots of competition, so branding is super important. I’ve always been fascinated by this concept of “branding.” I think it’s misunderstood by many. “Branding” is so much more than just a new name and/or logo. It’s also the “look” of your store; it’s design and flow. Your store shouldn’t feel like just some place to sell or buy a product. It should encourage and inspire customers to want to explore it while they’re there and return after they’ve left. There’s a really good reason why General Contractors exist. Some things just aren’t DYI projects. Cannabis stores fall into that category. You need professional help.
- Impact: This one can also be thought of as “first impressions.” What do you want your store to say the first time a customer lays eyes on it? How about the hundredth time they come in? Or for passer-by? What do you want that impression to be? This is something that requires serious thought. Don’t skimp here. Look for a G.C, who offers a design service. He will help you make that impact you are looking for.
- Location, location, location: This one never gets old. Do your homework. What’s the demographic of the location you’re looking at? How’s parking? How safe is the neighbourhood? How much competition is in your area? A new consideration; is it in such a place that there’s be enough foot-traffic and casuals to allow you to survive a lockdown? That’s one we never thought about before, but as the old Spiritual says, “The times, they are a-changing…”
- Talk to your neighbours: Look, I get it. You’re a cool person and you’re “woke” to the benefits of cannabis. But not everyone is going to welcome your store with open arms. The guy selling religious artifacts across the street from you may not be thrilled to see your “Opening Soon” sign. Be mindful of that. Go talk to your neighbouring store owners ahead of you opening up. Try to address their questions and concerns. Consult with your G.C. too. He’ll be able to help you come up with a façade that doesn’t upset your fellow store owners.
- The Vibe: Understand that you are in a business that is still in its infancy. That means that as a whole, there are going to be some hit and miss concepts by many cannabis retailers. Let’s make sure you’re on the “hit” side. Partner up with your contractor. Communicate with him regularly. Let him know what you are trying to achieve. If you want a “Key West” feel, leave the Canadian winter memorabilia off the walls. After all, there aren’t any ski hills in Florida, so why are there skis on your wall?