As part of the recent World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick, the Business of Cannabis team was privileged enough to tour the location of what will be one of the first Cannabis NB retail stores.
Because Canada will be home to some of the only government-owned and operated cannabis stores in the world,you can imagine the complexity of the design challenge. The spaces must be at once welcoming to consumers, but also capable of passing muster with regulators and public health advocates.
Cannabis NB has done some incredible work in the development of their stores and the rest of Canada – and the world – should take a look. Here are the three things that we think they did best:
1. Education (and Lifestyle)-Focused
The Cannabis NB shop takes into account that this may be the first cannabis-buying experience for many visitors and as such the store is developed to provide information to empower the customer and provide them with education that will serve them into the future. In other jurisdictions, the average time-in-store is more than 15 minutes – much longer than consumer spend on alcohol purchases and as such, the educational materials are informative, creatively designed and engaging. They will be introduced by trained ‘guides’. This education-rich focus will permeate the in-store experience, but will also be carried over into the online experience as well.
2. Thoughtful Design
Much has been said and written about the Provinces that will have government-owned operated cannabis retail operations. The thought is that government cannot produce a compelling shopping experience. In New Brunswick, they will prove that thinking wrong. The design is elegant and welcoming and a great deal of thought has been given to consumer experience is evident. The full consumer journey is reflected in the design and layout and care has been taken to develop a store layout and fittings that will evolve and expand to meet the changing availability of products. An example of this was the inclusion of space and wiring to support the introduction of edibles and drinks that will likely require refrigeration. (If you are reading this and work for another Province setting up shop – visit theCannabis NB store as soon as possible.) And if all of this weren’t enough, visual touches bring the New Brunswick experience into the store. Finally the store has included an intentional commitment to corporate social responsibility – overtly recommending a low and slow approach.
3. Top-Flight Team
The entire Cannabis NB team has put in time, attention and effort to create a unique, welcoming and thoughtful cannabis-purchasing experience. While the legalization legislation has been largely imposed on Provinces, New Brunswick has answered the challenge of distribution and retail. The team is focused, thoughtful and, in many ways, leading the country, and in fact, the world in building the infrastructure for responsible, full-scale, adult use recreational cannabis retail operations.
As Canada becomes the first G7 country to have a nationally legal, adult-use recreational cannabis program in place – New Brunswick is a retail location model that others should follow. From design to education to overall readiness, seeing New Brunswick’s gameplan promises a roll out that will benothing short of revolutionary.