Easy highway access, an airport and two locations near Arizona State University keep traffic flowing
The old adage in real estate is location, location, location, and nowhere is that more important than it is for retail businesses. In the cannabis space, the idea that “weed sells itself” is quickly being replaced by an ultra-competitive business in which every advantage matters, and those companies set up with a location to drive traffic — and handle that flow of customers — are the ones set up for success.
By Brian Beckley, Garrett Rudolph and Patrick Wagner
With 54,000-plus undergrads, Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, routinely ranks in the top 10 campuses in the country by enrollment. It also has a reputation of being one of the top “party schools” in the country.
And no cannabis retailer is better positioned to take advantage of that than Sol Flower, which has a location on both the east and west sides of the campus.
“Those are our two busiest locations,” says Dan Hayden, director of retail operations for Sol Flower, the retail arm of Arizona’s Copperstate Farms. Hayden says those two shops are “probably twice as busy as some of our other locations around the valley.”
But it’s not just the proximity to ASU that propels the Sol Flower shops; the stores also feature easy access from the area’s highways, including state Route 143 and its easy access to Sky Harbor Airport.
“Ease of access onto and leaving the freeways is a huge factor,” says Hayden. “So every one of our locations is near a freeway.”
The company further capitalizes on its proximity to the airport with signage and visibility — both during the day and at night — to draw numerous travelers coming to Arizona for both work and recreational purposes.
“If you’re leaving Sky Harbor or you’re just driving by, and you didn’t know we were there, there’s a good chance you’ll see us as you pass by with our signage.”
Easy highway access is a strategy the company uses chain-wide. The store on McClintock Drive in Tempe is a couple miles from the campus, but it’s also right off Highway 202.
Sol Flower stores also place a premium on parking, as well as ease of access to the stores’ lots, so the McClintock store, for example, has a very large lot with more than 75 spaces available.
But while Sol Flower makes sure each location is easily accessible, none of the shops do as well as the ASU locations and its annual rush of fresh, new customers each fall.
“There’s a benefit, obviously, with being around universities that every semester, there’s an influx of new people coming into the student community, as well as visitors coming into our dispensary coinciding with those timeframes,” Hayden says.