The very first point guests notice upon getting into Atrium in Woodland Hills, California, is the strange absence of the classic dank dispensary waft. With freshly brewed coffee hanging in the air, copies of neighborhood life-style magazines Hidden Hills and Calabasas Style strewn neatly across sofas, and budtenders wearing polo shirts and earpieces, the genial reception location is far more akin to a overall health spa than the typical pot shop.
“We wanted to make a dispensary that didn’t really feel like a dispensary,” explained Chris Berman, chief operating officer for SoCal Creating Ventures, the holding firm behind the five,250-square-foot dispensary and numerous other touchpoints along the cannabis provide chain. “There are some cannabis-distinct components, such as the verify-in and a hugely visible safety presence, but other than that, we seriously wanted the feeling of buying at Atrium to be like any other higher-finish retail knowledge.”
Surrounded by drab strip malls deep in the San Fernando Valley, the Atrium constructing is a commanding presence. Constructed in 1972, the space most lately housed a boutique fitness center and sits at the busy intersection of Ventura and Topanga Canyon boulevards, crouched beneath the 101 freeway. Framed on its south and east sides by lovely tall windows, its unassuming sign reads “Atrium: an elevated cannabis knowledge.” Guests immediately understand the tagline is, if something, an understatement.
Inside, Atrium is a serene oasis. The chatter involving employees and consumers resonates lightly about the open space as abundant all-natural light pours into the area. The open-strategy salesfloor is replete with modular glass cabinets with drawers that encourage customers to discover and choose up the merchandise, constantly accompanied by a budtender with an iPad.
“Every buyer is matched with a sales associate just before they enter the floor so we can guide them about and answer any queries they have,” stated Berman. The approach is crucial, as there is nonetheless a “substantial quantity of [consumer] education that requires to be carried out.”
If some dispensaries are “a shrine to the plant,” as Green Development Brands Chief Executive Officer Peter Horvath told mg in February, Atrium is an altar to the brand. Inside the cabinets, every single firm is provided free of charge rein to create allotted genuine estate and present its merchandise, with brands like Canndescent taking a entire cabinet to themselves. (1 can not assist considering that when Canndescent’s inventive group envisioned a utopian retail context for their sophisticated, forward-searching packaging, they imagined anything like Atrium.)
“The appear, smell, taste, and touch are all such vital components of the knowledge,” Berman stated. A lot of amongst Atrium’s clientele, he explained, are middle-aged and older, and numerous of them merely wouldn’t have ventured into the typical dingy Los-Angeles-location dispensary. “For them, cannabis is nonetheless a bit of a taboo topic,” he added.
To disarm the lingering stigma and bring an “elevated cannabis experience” to life, SoCal tapped L.A.-primarily based interior designer Julia Wong. Wong’s portfolio largely is composed of luxury residential properties and hotels. In spite of Atrium getting her very first dispensary project, she was spurred by the prospect of rethinking the retail knowledge and “[challenging] the perception of cannabis by way of style.”
Inspired by opulent nineteenth-century Parisian apothecary Buly, Wong stated she sought to create a space with “authentic origins and roots, with modern day lines, applying all-natural supplies.” The sleek, sophisticated interior focuses on amplifying merchandise on the brand-distinct shelves and in the wheeled glass show units inspired by luxury jeweler Tiffany’s.
“I focused on the higher ceilings and controlled the light with motorized shades, enabling the space to be flooded with all-natural light, which is in such stark contrast to the classic dispensaries in strip malls,” she stated.
All the all-natural light plays to the aesthetic strengths of Atrium’s meticulously chosen stock. Important space along the walls on the south side is allocated to marquee brands like Kurvana, Pick, and Bloom, although heavyweights dosist and Pax have deployed permanent brand ambassadors to stand by the door and scoop people today as they enter, a testament to how a lot they covet Atrium’s prized but elusive demographic. The synergy of elevated, open style, compassionate buyer service, and tightly curated item choice tends to make Atrium an attractive idea for the higher-finish neighborhood it serves.
When cannabis very first unshackled the minds of America’s youth in the 1960s, Topanga Canyon was recognized as a secluded hippie enclave, property to the likes of Neil Young and Charles Manson. These days, far more than half the residents are 45 or older, and the median property worth is $1.three million. “Woodland Hills is a reasonably affluent city, and there are a lot of super-affluent regions close by,” Berman stated. “We’re the closest legal cannabis retailer to Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Westlake Village, and Thousand Oaks, and we have a lot of consumers come in from Malibu, as effectively.”
With various millions of dollars invested in the buildout alone, the Atrium group was confident the idea would resonate with the surrounding neighborhood. “We want our consumers to really feel secure, and we want them to be comfy in the retailer,” he stated. “The very best way to do that is to make a space that feels familiar, like walking into a higher-finish division retailer.”
According to Promoting Manager Melinda Gonzales, “On four/20, we had 3 generations of the identical loved ones right here: the grandmother, the mother, and the daughter. The grandmother just couldn’t think this is exactly where cannabis is right now.”
The Atrium group is acutely cognizant of the store’s pan-generational demographic. By the time this mg issue hits the street, they count on to have launched a wellness location in the far corner of the shop floor. With specialized employees, a massage table, and an emphasis on CBD merchandise, topicals, and education, Atrium is responding to an unmet require for in-depth item expertise, science-backed suggestions, and wellness experiences constant with the plant’s projected virtues.
SoCal Creating Ventures owns various other active dispensaries, and numerous far more are in many stages of improvement. In June, the group was one particular of only six profitable applicants for a retail license in Pasadena, California. Assuming they locate a house matching the “wow factor” the Topanga place commands, that shop will be the subsequent iteration of the Atrium brand. “Atrium is a higher-finish idea we will only repeat when we locate the ideal mix of genuine estate and neighborhood demographics,” Berman stated.
With demographics closely mirroring the Topanga place and some of the most lovely architecture in Southern California, Pasadena is a best match for Atrium, the open, airy, sunlight-bathed idea which is defining the “right light” for cannabis retail.