The image that your dispensary business portrays to your customers is very important to its success. Part of that image is the way your business looks when a customer comes into your store. Another part of the image is the type of products you carry in your dispensary. And the third part of your image is your employees and how they serve your customers. This takes management know-how and employee training.
Due to an injury, I was unable to drive for a couple of months and used a cannabis delivery service run out of a local dispensary. The delivery service was wonderful. When I called in to find out what was available, the people I spoke with we’re always very knowledgeable, polite, and professional. They could give me a fairly exact window of time when I could expect delivery of what I had purchased. The people who are delivering were prompt, polite, clean, and businesslike. The flower was top quality. I was extremely impressed with this company and had no problem trusting their opinions regarding the strains that would be best for pain or relaxation. I felt comfortable having them come to my door to deliver the goods, and I also felt comfortable giving them my credit card.
I constantly complimented them on running an extremely good business in an industry that is often a little sloppy when it comes to professionalism. For example one large investor I know has sold off all of his investments in cultivation because as he said, “they all act like cowboys and if I am going to invest $1,000,000 or more I want to work with people who I believe know what they’re doing and who I can trust to conduct themselves like cannabis professionals when talking to customers and other investors that I send their way.”
Back to my story about my favorite delivery service and the dispensary that operates it. After a couple of months I had healed enough that I was finally able to drive, and I was anxious to visit the dispensary. My expectations were for a standard small store that reflected the care and organization of their delivery service.
What a surprise when I arrived. It was located in a small, rundown strip mall with parking out front and three other stores that didn’t look like they were very successful. In keeping with the laws, the windows of the dispensary where covered so you could not look inside. However, the covering on these windows was stained and unattractive, like old bed sheets. I wondered why the owners didn’t replace such ugly window coverings with a good coat of one-color acrylic paint, which would have made the front of the dispensary look much more inviting. Instead, the sloppy window coverings made this dispensary look like the kind of place that might be dangerous to enter.
Inside, the dispensary was dark, dirty, and had things piled in corners. There were only a couple of display cases and they were not neatly arranged. But the worst thing was dealing with an employee who was so stoned he could barely talk.
Perhaps they considered their major business to be delivery, but the unattractive state of the dispensary was a real turn off. The first thing I thought of was the current crackdown on dispensaries that have not been abiding by rules such as limits to the amount of cannabis any one person can buy in a day. The sales clerk I had dealt with was so stoned I doubted he could remember not to sell too much weed to the same person, particularly if that person left and returned later in the day to buy more, as is usual for people who are buying for unlicensed resale.
It makes me sad to think that my favorite supplier of gourmet quality cannabis is likely to run into problems with the law because nobody has managed the dispensary like a business, instead of like it was an illegal operation run out of a van parked on the street or a dirty living room in a ramshackle house.
Competition will force these small dispensaries to clean up their acts.
They don’t have to be as fancy as a MedMan dispensary, but they do have to look like they are serious businesses that care about their image. And they can’t have their employees interfacing with customers while massively stoned. Stoned employees are likely to make serious mistakes that can result in hefty fines and even the closing of the business itself.
Cannabis is now big business, and Big Weed is going to push the amateurs out of the industry and possibly into expensive court cases and jail. The solution to remaining in business successfully is to make sure you are training your staff to thoroughly understand the rules and regulations your business must follow. It is not enough for them to be able to speak knowledgeably about the various strains of flower, distillates, and edibles. They also need to make a good personal impression because their customers are usually average citizens and no longer the Freak Brothers living in their vans.
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