MG Column

Turning Dreams Into Reality With Megan Stone

This article was originally published on MG Retailer


The Phoenix based High Road Design Studio specializes in elevating the image, reputation and profits for dispensaries and retail spaces all over the country. Meet Megan Stone, the woman who is on a mission to bring world class design and retail consulting to the Industry.

The Minerva Canna Group dispensary in Abuquerque, New Mexico, was looking to expand in 2014 from a stand-alone dispensary into a sort of one stop shop for all things cannabis: a retail dispensary, a grow shop, a clothing store and a wellness center. The owners saw this as the future of the business—but they knew they needed an aesthetic that was just as forward- looking and unique as their new business model. They turned to Megan Stone of the High Road Design Studio.

Stone, who has a Bachelors of Science in Marketing from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and an Associates of Arts in Interior Design from the Interior Designers Institute in Newport Beach, California, had been working in and managing dispensaries in Orange County, California since 2010, before starting her own design firm.

Minerva01 Entryway and Lobby

“I wound up remodeling both locations,” she recalls, “and I really got to see how impactful design could be on patients experiences.”

In June of 2013, buoyed by her experience in redesigning the spaces, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and opened the High Road Design Studio, a full service interior design firm specializing in the cannabis space.

“I mean, it’s the fastest growing industry in America—and I want to help people reach their dreams,” says Stone.

For Minerva, Stone went with a modern,  sophisticated “cannabis mall” feel, full of natural light, natural materials—wood, stone, and vegetation—and a wide array of textures including cement floors, flat walls, leather and velvet

“Good design and layout must entail a good knowledge of how a space is meant to work,” she says. “In the cannabis retail business, there are secrets to good, profitable design.”

Minerva08 Dispensary Showroom

As Stone, and her clients, have learned, the right layout can maximize revenues. Simple things like squeezing in an extra cash/wrap (cashier’s desk) and providing more visual access to the most profitable products can mean an extra 25% in foot traffic a day. But at its heart The Design Road is really about the aesthetics. Stone is a big fan of clean, modern spaces that include some cannabis related imagery through environmental art and graphics.

“It really helps elevate how it is received when treated as a piece of art,” she says. “It also subtly connects the space to the core product.”

One of Megan’s favorite projects was designing Root Cellar in Belfair, Washing- ton. She created a rustic but contemporary recreational retail space using the fabled Gabion Rocks of Arizona combined with polished concrete floors—something totally unique and rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest.

“Overtime they will age and patina into an amazing design element,” she coos.

For Oak Creek, Colorado’s Park Range Recreationals, she pulled out all the stops. Stone subtly turned the quaint 500 square- foot store into a sophisticated and sustainable boutique-like space that is airy, clean, fresh and makes people happy when they enter. She used locally sourced materials such as beetle kill pine and blackened cold- rolled steel married with a beautiful custom made 12-foot showcase display shelf and, of course, poppy cannabis artwork. But it’s all in a day’s work for Stone. She can’t wait for the next project.

“I love finding ways to expand brands to new markets,” she says with a big smile. “Whether that is new recreational markets in current states or looking to take successful brands into other states, it’s getting very innovative right now. Many dispensaries are looking for ways to offer express lines or online pick-up in store. I’m really looking forward to integrating technology into the customer experience in useful ways.”

THE COLOR OF MONEY

SOME COLORS SCREAM BUY —AND BIG PROFITS

RED

It’s the best color to get people’s attention—and they associate it with power. But don’t use too much of it or else it will lose its power.

It’s best for accents and smaller stuff.

BLUE

A color that immediately relaxes people and makes them feel trusting. Mix blue with complimentary colors for best results.

PINK

There’s no quicker way to get the attention of the young female demographic. It’s fun, playful and bubbly. Pink makes women want to shop.

YELLOW

Yellow translates into confidence and after red gets people’s attention the most. Use yellow for small walls and backdrops to give the room a bright airy feel.

GREEN

Green is the most versatile color. It has it all: warm, inviting, and makes customers feel good. Also, green is the color of money

—and cannabis.

PURPLE

Purple has always been the color of royalty, plush- ness and respect. Purple immediately translates into prestig—and that’s good for business.

GOLD

Nothing evoked elegance and importance more than gold. Use in combination with green for full effect and watch your sales soar.

ORANGE

Orange equals energy. It’s also poppy, avant garde and immediately gets attention. Nothing makes customers feel as though they’re dealing with a cool, hip company than orange.