Cannabis Retail Store Design – The Hunny Pot

The evolution of cannabis dispensaries from hard to find, unsophisticated retail environments to carefully orchestrated brand experiences will only accelerate as demand and competition increases in this growing retail segment and cannabis retail store design is a critical component of the equation.

CORE has guided numerous clients through this process including Indiva and The Hunny Pot Cannabis Company which recently open Toronto’s first legal dispensary on trendy Queen Street West.

At Hunny Pot CORE was faced with an expedited time-frame to deliver a store design concept over 4 retail levels.  The team worked closely with the Client and their consultants to execute a fully designed store to mark the opening of the first licensed Cannabis retail store in Toronto.

Located in the trendy Queen West downtown neighbourhood, the multi-level retail space was designed to embrace the open central atrium and skylight and designate each level specifically for shopping zones.  The simple, clean and modern store design makes use of the hexagon shape to pay homage to the owner’s namesake/store name and ‘Hunny’ theme.

Upon entering the space, guests are greeted into a reception area with a large moss green wall, gold reception desk and 11-foot high double-perforated black metal screens that create larger honeycomb shapes when only viewed at certain angles. A series of black and white painted rift-cut oak hexagon-shaped tables undulate on the upper levels as an interactive bud bar; some with glass showcase displays to highlight key products.  The theme is also carried through the store with a sequence of gold metal vertical strips mounted on the wall mimicking drips of honey located next to the lower cash area.  Additional elements of greenery are layered through-out each level with cascading vines; and the colour and material palette of glass, black and gold metal mixed with white and black wood were utilized to complement the existing interior finishes and space.

With the excitement surrounding licensing retail stores to open in Ontario, the rules and regulations limited realistic schedules for new retailers to conceptualize a Brand and open a brick and mortar shop in time for the deadline.

The challenge of the short time provided a lot of pressure to find a location, prepare a concept design simultaneously with the Branding development and production of the fixtures in the span of fewer than 8 weeks.  The investment the client put forth was heavily geared on creating a comfortable, inviting and beautiful space that would change the stigma of the cannabis industry and educate new users and help facilitate it into becoming more mainstream.

The vision and main focus were to create an environment that would resonate with and allow for repeat customers to choose their retail store over the other competitors that were also saturating the market.  Core needed to meet the daunting task of achieving the client’s goal to open on the deadline date so that they could make a historic footprint in the industry and set themselves apart.

For all of our clients we emphasise the following best practices which include;

  • The space should reinforce your brand experience through immersive design. Your space should tell a story, the story of your brand.  Visitors need to be immersed in your brand messaging and what your brand represents to their lifestyle.
  • As with all retail, the story begins long before the visitor enters your store. It begins with the storefront, the signage, the wayfinding the storefront display.  It needs to capture the attention of the passing foot traffic and entice them in.  It sets the tone of the experience yet to come.
  • The entrance, the second brand touchpoint. As most visitors will visually look to right it is important to place merchandise outpost or special displays in this key sight line as it represents the beginning of critical circular path your visitor will travel through the space from front to back.
  • Strategically merchandise by not overcrowding your floor space, too many product options and choices can actually reduce sales. Technology can help here by moving product offering to a digital interface with touchscreen menus.
  • Enhance the experience digitally by using digital shelf space in the form touchscreen menu kiosks which can allow visitors to explore your entire inventory and special order items. These kiosks can provide key product information and user reviews, greatly enhancing the visitor experience when coupled with effective visual design.  In cannabis retail store design these types of technologies can help showcase product options that are not necessarily held in inventory but are available through the special order process, which can greatly increase product offerings and revenue streams.
  • Aesthetics should represent the personality of the overall vision. Furniture, fixtures, decorations that represent a singular theme can all help support a brand statement and create a memorable experience for your visitors.

Images courtesy of Hunny Pot Cannabis Company