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.
From the De Stijl-inspired colored glass exterior to the modern lighting and cannabis close-ups on the wall, San Francisco’s Sparc is practically a work of art. Inside, the store’s clean lines and asymmetric, horizontal clone displays work together with a wide shelving area that contains a periodic-table-like collection of wooden drawers accessible though a classic, library-style rolling ladder. Neon-lit benches line one wall of the dispensary, while the opposite side of the sales floor features glass cases of flowers, edibles and concentrates.
While Sparc’s flagship store is located in the Lower Haight district of San Francisco, there are also locations in Soma, Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.
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.”