Talking into TruMed, a medical-marijuana dispensary in Phoenix, Arizona, customers cross a sophisticated black-and-white striped floor dividing two distinct areas. On one side, flower is displayed in sparkling jars against a wood-paneled wall with stone shelves. On the other side, in contrast to the dark wood base of the display counters, is the illuminated, gloss-white concentrate bar.
In front of a three-dimensional backlit TruMed logo on the wall, the LED-lit bar pops with a Silestone counter in TruMed’s signature orange and is splashed with light from hanging fixtures that pay homage to the trichomes from which concentrates are derived. In a glass case on top of the counter, a textured white background gently angles the concentrates toward the customers for ideal viewing.
Beautiful and flavorful butane hash oil shatters, crumbles and live resins, vape pen cartridges, and Rick Simpson Oil – all made in house – are on display, identified by large-print placards.
Since opening in 2013, TruMed has led the Phoenix market in design, product quality and sophistication of their overall retail experience. When concentrates became legal in Arizona in 2014, TruMed decided to enter the rapidly expanding sector. After trying a few different display methods for their new product, they decided they wanted a unique retail fixture as beautiful as the products it showcased.
“We wanted to attract a customer who was maybe a little more sophisticated and thoughtful and had the deep pockets to go along with that,” said Megan Stone, who designed the space. “We also wanted to cater to the younger crowd who also love concentrates.”
Stone owns The High Road Design Studio, which specializes in the design of cannabis retail spaces. When she started in 2013, there wasn’t a lot of design in the industry, she said. After visiting stores and interviewing dispensary owners around the country, she found that some of the best design was happening in the new Arizona market.
Stone assisted TruMed with the design of their lobby, digital merchandising and exterior design, and was brought in to design the new display for concentrates.
“For me cannabis, or medical cannabis, is one of the coolest things you could walk into a store and purchase,” Stone said. “The experience should reflect that.”
Stone, who has worked as a budtender and in dispensaries in California, said her work is not just about the aesthetic experience, but about how medical marijuana is changing the patients’ lives.
“I’m all about elevating that experience to make it match what it truly means to people,” she said.
She also thinks the look and feel of the retail experience improves the customer experience.
“You’re buying something that is expensive and small, yet beautiful with connoisseur-like qualities, such as smell, look and purity,” she said. “Cannabis is deserving of the most beautiful presentation that you can imagine.”
Stone says good design celebrates form and function.
“It’s not just about having those images to lure people in the door and capture them while they’re there,” she said. “It’s also to have a space that grows with their business, that allows their staff do their job right, and keep their product safe and secure, all those not so fluffy things that go along with running a dispensary.”
TruMed’s manager, Lauren Gooding, a registered nurse, said sales of concentrates have increased since addition of the bar.
“The bar really draws peoples’ eyes, even people who aren’t interested in concentrates want to check it out,” Gooding said.
While on-site consumption has not yet been written into Arizona cannabis laws, TruMed’s wide selection and stunning presentation is worth visiting. Stone has designed stores in 13 states that have legalized marijuana sales, and sees a bright future for design in the marijuana industry.
“Because of the way the industry is going, there’s naturally a class of retailers that are going to think about design at a different level,” she said. “My business is growing like a weed, no pun intended.”
By Nate Nichols
TELL US, are you more likely to purchase concentrates from a well-designed space?