Why invest in interior design for your dispensary

September 8, 2013

Your decision to own and operate a marijuana dispensary is one that no doubt involved taking on unique risks and doing a lot of self-teaching on how to best get that store of yours to reach its full potential.   As in any store-front business, you jumped through hurdles to get your doors open and your revenue flowing.

When you set up your business documents to keep you protected, you hired an attorney.  When you started to look for the right location that abided by the laws of your state, you worked with a real estate agent.  When you set up your financials so that your money was properly accounted for and handled, you spoke with a banker, an accountant, and possibly a lender.  When it was time to spread the word that your shop had opened and to tell people about your offers and specials, you paid someone to design your advertising and publish it for you. 

And when it came time to execute your vision for how your showroom would look, how it would feel when you walked into the lobby, and where your staff would go to complete their tasks, you hired an interior designer, right?

Don’t worry.  My feelings aren’t hurt.  I know the answer to this question is most likely “no.”  Professionally designed marijuana dispensaries are not the standard in our industry, but for no good reason.  According to Medical Marijuana Business Daily’s Marijuana Business Factbook 2013, real estate and renovations are one of the largest start-up costs for medical marijuana businesses, with 40% of dispensary owners reporting that they spend more on real estate and renovations during their start-up than any other expense.  Twenty-six percent of dispensary owners cite equipment purchases, including furniture, office supplies, display cases, shelving, computers, and storage pieces as their biggest start-up cost. 

With this much money going into the physical presence of your shop, hiring a professional designer can actually help you save money—and time.   A designer not only is educated and experienced in managing the design process from beginning to end, but can also provide you access to better pricing, higher quality products, and professional services that are only available to design professionals.  The risk of your waiting room furniture not fitting in the room or the paint and materials not matching the colors in your logo are mitigated when a professional is on board and assisting you. 

You are likely hoping that your store will be around for your patients and customers to frequent and enjoy for years to come.  An interior designer can help you plan for the long term; selecting flooring and surfaces that will be easy to maintain and won’t show unwanted signs of wear and tear, selecting furniture that will function well for patients and customers of all ages and abilities and won’t go out of style, or choosing a showroom layout that can handle the largest rushes but doesn’t encourage shoplifting and theft.

Designers, like myself, who specialize in cannabis businesses, can also lend expertise to the areas of your shop that are never seen by the public.  Prep rooms, storage rooms, inventory rooms, and the like, all have unique design needs that ensure product can be properly managed, stored, and handled.  Designing your entire premise to be safe and secure is also an important need of dispensaries, one in which a designer can greatly assist with, but this is a whole other topic.

It is never too late to involve a designer in your business, although the savings to your bottom line can be more substantial the sooner a designer in brought in to the planning.  So the next time you are planning ways to reinvest your profits back into your business, attract and retain happy patients and customers, or improve the morale of your employees—and yourself—consider taking The High Road to reach your goals.