Just a few years ago, it seemed most cannabis retailers had the same hole-in-the-wall feel, designed to fly under the radar and not attract attention from law enforcement. But as the legal market has exploded, cannabis shops have come out of the shadows and have begun to use their storefronts and retail space to try and attract more customers through the doors.
These stores represent a sampling of some of the many ways cannabis retailers are creating shopping environments that are as visually stunning as they are effective.
Authenticity can’t be bought, branded or contracted out to a design studio. That quality has to come from a genuinely caring business. Every Lightshade store in Colorado is a perfect example of homegrown authenticity. Owners Shannon and Steven Brooks put unmistakable care into each of the stores’ design by going beyond uniform features such as the reclaimed barnwood, steel signage and homages to Colorado and including unscripted touches like the potted plants, the chosen artwork and little nuances that reflect the people behind the counter. It’s a design that is in tune with the company motto, “The difference is night and day.”
This feature kicks off a partnership between Marijuana Venture and ST Media Group, which have teamed up to create the annual Retail Design Excellence Awards.
“Over the past several years we saw this amazing growth in cannabis retail stores up and down the West Coast. What struck me was not just the number of retailers, but how innovative and interesting they had become,” says Marijuana Venture publisher Greg James. “I was often blown away by the stunning designs and interior layouts. We realized that it would be wise to team up with a respected national media company to create a process for awarding excellence in retailing. We talked to ST Media Group and their VMSD (Visual Merchandising and Store Design) team and quickly realized it was a match made in heaven.”
ST Media and Marijuana Venture will be presenting the Retail Design Excellence Awards to retailers with innovative and interesting design concepts in the cannabis industry. Award categories will include: best stand-alone store (major market); best stand-alone store (small market); best merchandising; best chain; best use of space: best use of signage and more.
“As the leading publication in the visual merchandising and retail design space, we’ve been covering the growing legal cannabis market and bringing our readers the most innovative projects in that market for years,” says Murray Kasmenn, senior vice president and group publisher at ST Media group. “We’re excited to team up with the leading publisher in the cannabis space to create a meaningful award that recognizes retail design excellence for these increasingly sophisticated efforts. VMSD’s 120-plus years of covering global retail design make us the ideal partners for this exciting new award.”