Amazing Retail Designs
Retailers across North America are upping their game, enlisting A-list design firms from inside and outside the cannabis industry to stand out and to keep customers coming back for years to come.
While some of the following stores reside in well-established markets and set the bar high for competitors, others operate in newer markets and act as ambassadors for the entire industry.
Marijuana Venture spoke with the leading designers behind many of these retail stores to get insight on the design decisions and why they work in their respective markets.
St. Louis, Missouri
Swade in St. Louis rides the line of being an ambassador for medical cannabis in a red state while preparing to transition to adult-use sales with minimal design changes.
“Missouri is a conservative state, so really establishing a level of safety and comfort with the product was first and foremost,” says designer Meg Holmes, the principal of MIN+ Architecture.
Being part of a new medical marijuana program meant the Swade stores had to help usher in an alternative health care option that is comfortable enough for soccer moms and still appealing to 21-year-old college students, Holmes says.
“We are not Grateful Dead. We are not neon lights,” Holmes says. “But we are also not an Apple Store that is emotionless and tech-forward.”
Each of the five Swade stores include elements from their respective neighborhoods, such as goldleaf lettering in the historic district, a lowkey thrift-store feel for the college district and a more eclectic, colorful design for the Grove neighborhood store, which is surrounded by gay bars. Holmes and the owners of Swade also wanted to convey the quality of product produced by the company by co-opting design elements from the high-end coffee shops around St. Louis.
While approachability and safety were major considerations, Swade was designed with the possibility of recreational cannabis in mind — Missouri voters approved a legalization measure during the 2022 midterms — so the waiting rooms were built with removable glass walls at each of the stores.