Owners make experience of buying cannabis nearly as trippy as consuming it.
Are you ready for Doobie Nights?
California’s newest dispensary is making noise by challenging the perceptions of what a cannabis store can and should be. The sprawling 3,700-sq.-ft. facility opened its doors over the weekend, drawing customers in with a multi-sensory experience well-suited to the products on offer.
Co-owner and general manager Damon Crain told The Press Democrat that they were tired of the clinical, all-white aesthetic sported by many stores, on both sides of the border, that don’t do much to convince consumers to walk through the front door.
“I wanted to break the mold completely,” he said.
Doobie Nights has done that by making the journey to the cash register a huge part of the experience. From tapping music festival set designers to setting the tone to buying four US$25,000 projectors to transform the store’s main walls to whatever trippy mood customers are into that day, visitors certainly won’t be bored.
Crain said they were originally after a ’70s retro vibe, but didn’t want to pigeonhole themselves into one aesthetic when it wasn’t necessary to do so.
Dispensaries in Canada and elsewhere in the U.S. are often so focused on blending into the surrounding environment — so as not to disturb the neighbourhood — that they often look and feel the same as every other store visited. Doobie Nights, on the other hand, was determined to stand out.
“So, what do you do that’s not limiting? Well, you could paint the walls white and project different things on ‘em every day. That’s not limiting,” Crain said.
Add in an eclectic soundtrack of tunes set to integrated LED lighting and an interactive touch-screen wall that provides product info and takes orders, and the dispensary is definitely onto something.
But it didn’t come cheap: Crain and co-owner Brandon Levine have dropped more than US$1.5 million on the location so far, money they hope to recoup by drawing new consumers to the area to see what all the fuss is about.
“Tourism’s going to be huge for us,” Levine said.
Victor Pinho, founder of San Francisco’s Emerald Farm Tours, agreed and said he’ll be making the dispensary a regular stop on his route.
“This is not being done anywhere else,” Pinho said. “This is what the marketplace is requesting. I think we’re going to see a lot more of what they’re doing.”
Written by David Yasvinski