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Design High in Missouri; Where to start?

There are now 214 recreational use dispensaries in Missouri- open and operational. The highest numbers in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. More great news? Cannabis cafés and consumption areas will also soon become a reality in some parts of unincorporated St. Louis County, after the St. Louis County Planning Commission introduced a new bill recommending adjustments to regulations on the city ordinance for Amendment 3. Chances are Kansas City will follow suit, and so will many other counties.

Missouri is proving to be a very friendly space for cannabis dispensaries. The state has a 6% tax on recreational sales – on top of regular sales taxes, compared to neighboring Illinois where taxes are up to 25%.

My crystal ball (don’t fail me now) predicts the Missouri market will grow and flourish in a really great way. And we know that where we see cannabis- friendly legislation and a vibrant customer- we’re going to have some AMAZING dispensaries.

I’ve some great pro tips to get you started on your Missouri Dispensary Design.

You’ve got great talent in your backyard- use it! Connect to your location.

There is nothing more community connecting than using local artists and creatives to enhance your brand. Lucky you! Missouri is flooded with amazingly talented artists. Check out Paint Louis, a weekend long music and art festival going on 20 years of hip hop and street art celebration. You’ll be inspired. Maybe your brand could feature a regular poetry slam night or dedicate a large interior or exterior wall to permanently display bold, one of a kind murals.

I’m a huge fan of using local products in my designs. If I can source it in the community you’re going to stay in, it’s a win. You’re going to save on shipping time and costs and also help out your Missouri communities.

It’s a great way to build connections and gain some amazing artisans to your rolodex. Customers love hearing “yeah, all our casework was done locally by so and so,” or “the wood for that display came from the old factory on 12th street in Kansas City.”

Street Artist Louis Masai

Plan. Plan. Plan and then plan some more.

The interior design of your space shouldn’t be an afterthought, or left to last minute, hasty decisions. Remember, the interior of your space is how you are going to be viewed and remembered, alongside your amazing product and staff. They all go hand in hand. Since you may have a limited number of days before you need to open your doors, the more pre-planning the better. Nail down your brand, logo and message. Find your real estate, hire the pros that can help you accomplish as much as possible in those early phases. This will take the heat off of you later.

When you make decisions without careful thought and planning, or the right combo of experts, you’re likely to make some major mistakes. And we all know how costly that can be in this industry. It might seem like you’re limited in what you can secure early on, but now is the time to think about what kind of layout you prefer, how your customer will shop, what the day to day operations look like, even extra touches you would love to incorporate. Missouri is a booming market for retail cannabis dispensaries and you’re going to need to bring your best to stand out.

Get comfortable with the B word.

Budget. Not only do you have to have one, but you need to understand it and be able to communicate it to all of your trades, including your retail dispensary designer. We love clients with “no” budgets, but let’s be real… that’s not practical (and usually not true) for anyone.
I have a few filters I mentally use when sourcing finishes and fixtures. I share this with my clients because we need to make sure we are maximizing the budget, no matter what that amount is.

So here are my three:

  • Is it going to sell more weed?
  • Is it going to last the life of your dispensary or am I going to need to replace this frequently- what is it’s lifespan?
  • Showstopper? Is this what your customers are going to talk about next week to their friends?

Example: A really gorgeous beautiful lounge chair that nobody will ever sit in costs $4500. OR you could find an equally beautiful chair for $1500 and upgrade the finish on the countertop to something non-scratch and heavy duty cleanable. Or quit the chair altogether and invest in high performance countertops and a merch hat display.

All these decisions matter and need to be hashed out within the budget.

We love the opening month boom in sales happening from St. Louis Dispensaries all the way to Kansas City and across all of Missouri, and we want to see more! Keep these main points in mind when planning your dispensary, lean on experts in established markets for guidance and have fun with your newest endeavor.