Level Up’s Interior Transformation Reigns Supreme in Retail Renovation Competition

September 5, 2017

Our #dopedesign of a Scottsdale MMJ Dispensary bags its third design competition prize this year

Oops, I did it again! This week, I am heading to New Orleans to scoop up another award the design of Level Up Dispensary. The High Road’s design of this luxury cannabis dispensary was awarded first-place in Visual Merchandising & Store Design’s (VMSD) annual Retail Renovation Competition. The award will be presented during the 2017 International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) on Thursday, September 7, 2017. 

This is the third award we have won for Level Up’s innovative design in 2017. In July, Level Up earned Best In Show honors in VMSD’s 2017 International Visual Competition, beating out World-class retail brands including luxury handbag brand Coach, Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Co., and mobile phone retailer T-Mobile. This award earned us some serious street cred: Level Up the first cannabis store to be recognized in the award’s history. I will also be on stage Thursday at IRDC to accept the Best In Show award. In March 2017, Level Up won a Shop! Association Design Award in the Specialty Food Retailer Category.

So why should a cannabis dispensary be honored for its remodel? And what makes remodeling a cannabis dispensary different from, say, a Starbucks? 

Well, unlike traditional retailers, cannabis retailers are seldom able to secure traditional retail properties to call home. Often times, zoning laws and local ordinances relegate these retail businesses to industrial or heavy commercial areas of cities, presenting the challenge of creating cool, appealing, shopper-friendly environments out of a spaces that were never intended to be cool, appealing, shopper-friendly environments! 

Here at The High Road, I have proven time and again that less-than-desirable real estate does not have to limit the quality of the experience a cannabis patient can have inside of a dispensary. I have designed many picture-perfect and highly coveted cannabis environments in more than a dozen states, on properties that most traditional retailers would never entertain as an option for their business model.

Our client Level Up is a state-licensed medical cannabis dispensary located in Scottsdale, Ariz. The property was a former office space that hadn’t been renovated in more than 20 years. The goal was to create an intimate yet energetic retail environment for efficient dispensary operations and a top-notch customer experience that could handle a high-volume of customers, provide security and regulatory compliance, and grow with the business overtime. The result was a full-scope interior renovation that included space planning, lighting design, signature brand elements, FF&E selection and procurement, custom milwork design, fabrication, and installation, new mechanical systems, relocated restrooms, and an award winning cannabis showroom. View more photos of the project in our Portfolio.

I am honored to receive this award for Level Up’s Retail Renovation. I feel this project is a metaphor for the greater transformation that cannabis is experiencing in society today. I started The High Road Design Studio because of my first-hand experiences as a medical cannabis patient, my love for experiential design, and my passion to reframe society’s perceptions of this life-saving plant. The World will see cannabis as a safe, legitimate, enjoyable substance if it is presented and treated as such. As long as obtaining legal cannabis involves purchasing it in a store, I will strive to make these store environments as awesome as possible.