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.
While many retailers aim to eliminate the social stigmas surrounding cannabis by avoiding its tropes, Grass Monkey in Portland, Maine, does the same by leaning into them, hard.
“They wanted to do something unique, something that more traditional retailers may be a little nervous to do and they were not afraid to uphold the culture of cannabis as a component of the design,” says Ryan McBride, creative director of The McBride Company. “They said, ‘No holds barred, make this place over the top … but don’t scare anyone off.’”
McBride and his design team offset some of the more divisive elements surrounding cannabis culture, such as graffiti, by placing them centerstage and showcasing the artistry and fun that have kept them alive for decades.
“The approach was to take this place and make it feel gallery-esque,” McBride says. “Display this street art as artwork, infuse the cannabis thread through it, but do it in clever and creative ways.”
The main guidelines of the design were the store’s name, logo and the idea of an urban jungle. At first the owners wanted to avoid incorporating plants since it’s so common in dispensary design, but then the firm proposed “making it silly,” using unmistakably faux plants everywhere, hanging them from the ceiling and “making it a little tongue in cheek,” McBride says.
“That’s what it was all about, uniqueness, being the opposite of the Apple Store of cannabis.”