Calgary, Canada-based dispensary chain Spiritleaf goals to franchise nationwide. With eight places open in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan and one other thirty-six anticipated to open quickly in these provinces plus British Columbia and Manitoba, the corporate is effectively on its technique to reaching its purpose. All shops have a good time Canada, from the nation’s distinctive spirit to its storied panorama.
The flagship retailer units the usual. Rugged flooring mix grey tile and darkish, distressed vinyl plank—not just for aesthetics, but additionally as a result of the supplies present sturdiness throughout harsh Canadian winters. A glossy mixture of observe and pot lighting voguishly highlights product cupboards and show benches, which of their earlier life served as kitchen tables in ski chalets. The tables do greater than add allure: By legislation, retailers might show solely fifteen flower jars at a time, so the tables present spots the place teams of shoppers might expertise the look, perfume, and really feel of the strains.
Photographs, murals, and utilitarian objects like canoe paddles punctuate eggshell-colored partitions, and nests of arty sconces show prime manufacturers. Dozens of customized tablets enable shoppers to evaluation product particulars and browse earlier purchasers’ opinions. A large Spiritleaf emblem behind the checkout desk anchors the store.
“We’ve got created a model and a fashionable retail mannequin that supply legitimacy, reputability, professionalism, and confidence.” —Darren Bondar, president and CEO, Spiritleaf
“Our shops have a good time Canadiana in lots of kinds,” mentioned Spiritleaf President and Chief Government Officer Darren Bondar. “Our design encourages prospects to discover and is an open-spaced alternative that reimagines the standard retail surroundings of a dispensary. This idea makes use of modern motifs however balances the inherent starkness with personable illustration in addition to accenting greenery. We needed the design to take prospects on a journey—an expertise that leverages shoppers’ current assumptions of what a dispensary ought to really feel like.”
Bondar is not any stranger to the retail world. Twenty years in the past, he began his personal retail firm and scaled it to a thirty-store community throughout Canada. As a longtime advocate and medical consumer, he determined to use the identical mannequin to the cannabis house. All Spiritleaf franchises have the identical feel and look however will not be precise replicas. From expertise, Bondar knew sustaining design unity whereas permitting native id may be tough, so he turned to 2 corporations that continuously work collectively: Seven Level Interiors and Tricarico Structure and Design. “Tricarico is an exceptional design studio that has labored with among the world’s prime manufacturers,” he mentioned. The agency’s worldwide shopper roster is spectacular—Levi’s, Rag & Bone, Valentino, and Footlocker, amongst others—however willingness to collaborate with Spiritleaf’s inner inventive group was the deciding issue.
In line with Tricarico Design Supervisor Jessica Archeval, the attraction was mutual. “Upon reviewing the model bundle and assembly with the group, I instantly felt a robust connection and couldn’t wait to inform the Spiritleaf story,” she mentioned. “We needed to create one thing utterly distinctive, so when a buyer walks inside they instantly really feel the constructive vitality and are embraced by the pure feeling of the dispensary.
“Inside the confines of the partitions, a brand new group is established the place all are welcomed,” she continued. “The crisp white partitions assist brighten the house and create an extension from the recent outside. Distressed woods and metals have been rigorously chosen so as to add distinctive character to the house. We needed to permit the partitions to inform the tales of the model, so Spiritleaf’s group members will at all times embrace their journey and always remember the place they began.”
Bondar added, “It was all about working collectively to evoke emotion and convey prospects collectively in an inviting, partaking ambiance the place folks can collect, share distinctive experiences, and confirm information in regards to the merchandise.”
To perform a part of its aims, Spiritleaf leverages a partnership with Up Hashish, which is backed by fashionable Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. Each Spiritleaf location options an Up Hashish lounge showcasing the historical past of cannabis and the Canadian music scene. In line with Bondar, the Up Hashish lounges allow prospects to expertise how weed, music, schooling, and group can come collectively and have a constructive influence.
The corporate additionally collaborates with visible artists. One of many first issues Bondar did in the course of the idea stage was fee an Alberta artist to hand-draw a really detailed, six-foot cannabis plant. “She spent over 100 hours on the small print, and it turned out fantastically,” Bondar mentioned. In truth, he preferred the work a lot the corporate not solely makes use of it in shops but additionally options the design on carry-out luggage and customized rolling papers packaging.
Not all design particulars will seem in every store. As an illustration, Bondar and his group needed to outfit all of the shops with cabin-like picket ceiling beams however quickly found variations in ceiling sorts and native environments made chain-wide incorporation impractical.
One factor that won’t change: A refined sample on the partitions mimics Spiritleaf’s emblem. “The origin of the brand is straightforward,” Bondar mentioned. “The identify Spiritleaf got here from our ‘spirit’ and from the expertise cannabis provides, and ‘leaf,’ from the plant. Our image was created by turning the initials into the feel of a leaf, after which [offsetting them] barely to signify a change of perspective.”
Nevertheless it’s not all about cosmetics for Spiritleaf. One factor Bondar realized from his a few years in retail is the best, hippest retailer on the block will fail if it isn’t a people-first, customer-service-oriented group. “All we’ve carried out to date wouldn’t be potential with out our wonderful workers,” he mentioned. “Hashish is a revolutionary trade, and our folks on the entrance strains are a few of our greatest property in navigating this journey.”
With that in thoughts, Bondar and his inventive group labored exhaustively to verify they acquired the checkout course of proper from the beginning. The thought hit late one evening: a number of point-of-sale stations all through the retailers. As well as, cash-wrap fixtures have been designed to supply staff and prospects with easy accessibility to product. “This makes for a seamless course of from assembling the order to taking fee,” he mentioned. “It’s been an enormous asset in offering a fast and gratifying checkout expertise.”
In line with Bondar, Spiritleaf’s mum or dad firm, Internal Spirit Holdings, has signed greater than 100 franchise agreements throughout Canada. The corporate was the primary retail cannabis entity to be granted Canadian Franchise Affiliation membership and the primary leisure chain to shut an preliminary public providing on the Canadian Inventory Trade, the place it lists as ISH. All this has Bondar excited in regards to the journey forward.
“We’ve got created a model and a contemporary retail mannequin that supply legitimacy, reputability, professionalism, and confidence,” he mentioned. “A lot of our opponents don’t have any retail expertise or come from a medical cannabis mannequin and are simply now pivoting their manufacturers to attraction to the leisure market.”