Minerva Canna Group: High-Style Design for a Unique Dispensary
June 3, 2014
Erik Briones’ Minerva Canna Group dispensary in Albuquerque, NM had been open for business for nearly 4 years when their small, 2-room building no longer could handle the amount of business coming in and out of its front door. That was when an opportunity arose to take over a building on the same property, but over 4 times the size of their current shop. Erik had a vision for creating a space under one roof that would serve his customers and patients as a one-stop-shop for anything relating to their cannabis needs– medicine, growing supplies, pipes and accessories, and wellness services. He wanted to be sure the experience was professional, memorable, well-designed, and would set a new standard for dispensaries in New Mexico and nationwide. But he wasn’t sure he could achieve that look and feel on his own.
I met Erik in November 2013 while attending the National Cannabusiness Conference outside of Seattle, WA. He approached me with his ideas and some basic details about the space and building. Right away, I knew this project had a lot of potential and already sounded like something that would contribute to the image of our industry in a positive way. Within a month, Erik flew me to Albuquerque for our initial consultation, and within a week, we were formally teamed up to reinvent this former fitness facility into a best-of-class cannabis destination.
Through the use of natural materials— wood, stone, and vegetation— and a diverse array of textures— cement floors, flat walls, leather and velvet upholstery, glass tiles, brushed metal finishes, and rough stone— I designed a modern, elegant, yet casual atmosphere to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Their new space is designed to offer a comfortable, safe, and unique dispensary and retail experience to every visitor.
I incorporated unique elements, such as large-format graphic images of cannabis, window decoration, and custom glass-top display cases, to create an elevated sense of place that is memorable to every visitor and connects the business to the organic nature of the cannabis industry.
With a total investment of approximately $65,000, the new building transformed into one of the most exciting, upscale, cannabis experiences in the country. It is a space that one loves to enter and regrets leaving. It has improved the image of the cannabis industry already in its short lifetime, and will continue to do so everyday of its tenure.
“The vinyl decals going into the dispensary create an element of intrigue and privacy so new patients can't see what's behind the doors, and they walk in and there is a huge wow-factor.”
— Erik Briones
“One of the things that I wanted to provide our patients by using the High Road Design Studio was an exceptional cannabis experience. And we achieved that.”
— Erik Briones
“I THINK THAT THE DISPLAY CABINETS WAS THE ONE PLACE WHERE I KNEW I NEEDED TO SPEND MONEY, AND IT WAS THE RIGHT DECISION. WE DIDN’T SKIMP (ON THE DISPLAY CASES) AND THEY COST A LOT, BUT THEY MAKE THE SPACE AND THEY MAKE THE ROOM. THEY ARE INCREDIBLE. THE DISPLAY CASES PROVIDE ORGANIZATION– PACKAGING AND INVENTORY IS ALL RIGHT BELOW YOU. YOU NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON YOUR PATIENTS, YOU CAN ALWAYS MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT. CUSTOMER SERVICE IS AT ITS PEAK BECAUSE THE BUDTENDER CAN ALWAYS GIVE THE PATIENT A ONE-ON-ONE, PERSONABLE AND ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE. THESE CABINETS PROVIDE CUSTOMER SERVICE WHERE ANOTHER LAYOUT WOULD NOT. IF A DISPENSARY OWNER WAS DEBATING WHETHER TO SPEND THEIR MONEY ON THAT, I WOULD ADVISE THEM TO LOOK AT THEIR MODEL AND WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO CONVEY TO THEIR PATIENT/CUSTOMER. IF IT’S A HIGH LEVEL OF CUSTOMER SERVICE AND PROFESSIONALISM, YOU ARE CRAZY NOT TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS. YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON A HUGE CUSTOMER SERVICE OPPORTUNITY.”
— ERIK BRIONES
(when asked about the biggest factors in how he allocated his budget)
“THE DESIGN HAS IMPROVED OUR BUSINESS SUBSTANTIALLY, PARTLY BECAUSE OF ALL OF THE PRESS WE HAVE RECEIVED. WE HAVE RAISED THE BAR SO HIGH IN NEW MEXICO THAT OTHER DISPENSARY OWNERS HAVE COME IN WITH JEALOUSY, CALLING IT PHENOMENAL. PATIENTS HAVE SUCH A BETTER CANNABIS EXPERIENCE WITH US THAN ANY OTHER PRODUCER IN THE STATE. WE JUST HAD OUR BEST QUARTER EVER, AND WE DO HAVE THE BEST DISPENSARY.”
— ERIK BRIONES
“I COULDN’T HAVE PULLED OFF A DESIGN THIS GOOD WITHOUT THE HIGH ROAD DESIGN STUDIO. YOU BROUGHT IN AN IMAGE THAT I COULDN’T HAVE DONE WITHOUT YOU. AND IT WAS A GREAT INVESTMENT.”
— Erik Briones
the new cannabis experience
Let’s take the High Road together.
We are curators of authenticity and expert storytellers. We turn design challenges into creative opportunities with joy and intellect. We honor quality, craftsmanship, integrity, and pragmatism in all we do. Are you ready to design a better cannabis dispensary experience?
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