By Megan Stone, Published April 11, 2014
I am no stranger to Denver. I am no stranger to the 16th Street Mall– downtown Denver’s tourist/convention goer/business professional epicenter. I have eaten meals, drank bottomless mimosas, shopped for boots, and made a Walgreen’s run on The Mall more times in my life than I can count. But on April 4, 2014, I got to experience a new “first” during my visit to the heart of the city. I bought cannabis, in a retail store, legally, on the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver.
Euflora, a brand new medical and adult-use dispensary located in the basement of an office building on the corner of 16th Street and Court, will be the first experience in buying cannabis legally for many people in the World. Like the two young female customers from Florida that I spoke with, Euflora is the first dispensary they have ever been in, the first time they ever have looked at multiple strains of what has in the past only has been referred to as “pot,” the first time they’ve seen lemon drops that can give you a sensational body high, and the first time they have ever been able to buy cannabis without breaking the law.
When asked what their first impressions were of the experience, they couldn’t have given me a better response: “It’s great. It feels like a normal store, like you are shopping at Macy’s, or an Apple Store. I don’t see what the big deal has been.”
Well, these ladies are pretty darn lucky. When you think back to your first physical contact with the cannabis industry, do you remember what your reaction was? I remember mine, and the words “normal,” “great,” or anything that would conjure up associations with Macy’s would not be appropriate for my review. I felt a small victory on behalf of our industry upon hearing the ladies’ feedback: we have gotten one step closer to creating a valuable, sought-after retail experience for our amazing industry.
It isn’t just tourists and first-time cannabis customers who are buzzing about Euflora. The dozen or so Denver-Area cannabis shops I visited after my stop at Euflora had all heard about this new business as well. The press has also caught on to this spot, but not because they are just another place to legally buy pot in Denver. People are talking about this place for one reason, and one reason only: INTERIOR DESIGN.
I would like to point out a few ways Euflora has elevated the marijuana retail experience through their store layout, product education, retail merchandising, and approach to the customer experience.
- A wayfinding pathway leads customers around that large space, guiding them along and keeping them from feeling lost or overwhelmed as they move from one display area to the next
- Strains are organized by type across 4 tables, and spaced out so each person or group of people can look, learn, and make their decisions without feeling rushed or sold to–but knowledgeable, friendly help was close by if needed
- 6,000 square feet of retail space will accommodate the large crowds they will see, but it does feel empty and boring in some areas
- A central transaction counter resembles the space plan and design of many normal retail stores
- Euflora has managed to integrate technology in a brilliant way in their dispensary. An innovative concept of having one mini-tablet per strain, featuring in-house information on the strain it is paired with, provides a user-friendly and easily updatable means of educating customers
- “Patent-pending” sample jar design lets you see and smell the bud without it being serveable—complying with Colorado laws
- Budtenders and educators were available if needed, and easy to approach
- With so much empty space to capitalize on, larger, more interactive educational elements could have been designed and integrated
- Products such as pipes, edibles, and accessories are well-displayed in cases that are secure but visible from every angle
- A creative display of pipes on ceramic white plates with acrylic covers draws customers to the accessory area of the retail space
- A large apparel area offers souvenir shirts and hats displayed on clothing racks and mannequin busts and heads
- Products offered cater to the tourists, who will likely make up a large percentage of Euflora’s business. It is a one-stop-shop for not only buying cannabis, but to acquire the accessories and tools needed to consume and enjoy it
- From the responses of the first-time cannabis customers we talked to, this experience felt normal and exciting
- Staff are on hand, providing tips, advice, and guidance when needed in a friendly, warm manner
- The learning process and educational features are intuitive and allow customers to shop independently, but without entirely removing the human element where needed
- Euflora brings a new experience in the cannabis industry. Think Ikea meets the Apple Store.
As Euflora’s business grows and stabilizes, I hope to see reinvestment of their profits into refining the finishes and visual appearance of their shop. They have started with a functional, efficient space plan and retail concept that has great potential, but lacks durability, quality, and refinement. Upgrading finishes, lighting, and display fixtures would elevate the experience and create a more permanent and professional feel to the space. Also, incorporating large format graphics, a wider variety of textures, and other elements that create photogenic views within the abundance of space will greatly improve its visual and promotional appeal in photographs and marketing images. Attention could be paid to the ceiling design, to make the space feel less enclosed and help define the different retail areas.
We are excited to see the vision that business owners in our industry are bringing to the retail experience. Partnering with professionals like The High Road Design Studio can make executing these visions more professional, efficient, detailed, refined, and profitable. Don’t miss your opportunity to create the best retail experience possible for your patients, customers, staff, and bottom line. Contact us today to begin your journey on The High Road.