This is the second installment of our three-part blog series on COVID-19 for cannabis retailers.
Aside from the irony that cannabis has been deemed necessary to society in more than half of the states but could land you in federal prison in others, this rightfully earned recognition of “essential” has already introduced some new challenges and opportunities for dispensary operators and staff. From social distancing, ordering online and express order pick-up to sanitation practices and customer flow modifications, there are many new practices to get comfortable with if you want to keep your customers happy, your staff healthy, and your business afloat. We hope these tips and resources help keep your store running smoothly and your patrons smiling during this unique time in our lives and during this year’s 4/20 events.
Fortunately, licensed cannabis businesses in 29 states are still open and serving medical patients and adult-use customers. However, it is not exactly business as usual. For the health and safety of staff and customers, dispensaries have made drastic changes to their retail operations to accommodate social distancing, heightened sanitary practices, and continued demand for cannabis products.
We reached out to two dispensaries to find out what changes they’ve made and how it’s going for their customers and employees so far.
thcsd.com | A recreational dispensary
Ray Taylor and Jim Dickinson, co-owners and operators of THCSD, are no strangers to operating a high-volume store with limited square footage. Their High Road-designed dispensary is a mere 350-sq.ft, but manages to handle 350-650 customers a day typically during non-pandemic times.
Their closet-sized San Diego recreational dispensary is divided by city-required bullet-resistant glass walls into a lobby, a small receptionist office, and a modest retail showroom. These partitions are coming in handy these days with social distancing measures and have enabled them to keep their customer experience familiar and comfortable for the customers and staff.
Things that THCSD has had to change in recent weeks due to COVID-19 include:
trumedaz.com | A medical dispensary
At TruMed Dispensary in Phoenix, staff and customers are adapting to cannabis retail without most of the retail part. Lauren Gooding, RN, is in charge of retail operations and has had to make some big changes to the day-to-day experience for her staff and medical patients in recent weeks. So far, things have gone pretty smoothly for the dispensary—which sees an average of 500 patients during normal weekdays—and she reports that people are staying positive. They are understanding of TruMed’s new procedures, such as:
One of the downfalls of the expedited measures that so many retailers like THCSD and TruMed are having to implement are no samples, displays or upselling opportunities. While these are additional challenges of the new COVID-19 shopping conditions, we are always up for a good challenge. Coming up in Part III of our three part series, we will be sharing advice from our network of industry experts on how to maintain the shopping experience with creative visual merchandising solutions. More great dispensary design tips can be found on our blog, Dope Design Diaries and on our Instagram page, @highroadstudio_.
High Road is always here to support our cannabis community, and we are ready to help you through these unique circumstances too. Whether for COVID-19 or for FOUR-20, our team of dope designers and retail gurus can provide you with clever ways to keep your customers happy and your brand top of mind. We are ready and able to provide the retail design support you need during these hectic and ever-changing times. Contact us today to learn more about our design and consultation services to help you implement helpful practices today and every day.
Take care of yourselves and keep taking the High Road!