How Will All Those Cannabis Places Survive? They Tell Us.
By Craig Manning | Sept. 7, 2020
Sixteen months after a lottery that awarded 13 medical dispensary permits for the City of Traverse City, most of Traverse City’s medical cannabis establishments are now operating. You see them seemingly on every corner, so how do they expect to differentiate themselves and thrive in a suddenly crowded market -- and what do they think of the stringent local regulations?
Cloud Cannabis, 356 Munson Ave
Specialty or brand differentiation: Our mantra is “Live Higher,” but this goes much deeper than being “high.” We want to help people create a higher version of themselves – whether that’s a faster runner, a better friend, or a more focused student. We’re focused on educating customers and providing recommendations…We approach product recommendations with a teacher’s heart because education is at the core of our approach to business.
We will thrive because: We are about patients over profits. Our heightened focus on providing an excellent customer experience, coupled with our access to high-quality products at an affordable price, is why we are well-positioned to succeed.
The process of working with local rules and officials has been: We’ve been working diligently to build trust and advocacy in the communities where we’re building locations. Cloud Cannabis CEO John McLeod is using his personal story to educate local officials on the benefits of cannabis. A former Detroit police officer, John credits cannabis with saving his life after the prescription pain medication he was taking to help with a knee injury negatively impacted his life. When working with local officials, the Cloud team communicates their goals of building a morally-driven business, creating jobs, and taking a family approach to doing business.
The Cured Leaf, 709 S Garfield Ave
Our differentiation: We focus on a tailored experience for each customer and carry a great variety of products through strategic partnerships with suppliers. We are also going to be fully vertical soon as a company and we hope to offer high-quality products at even more affordable pricing.
We will thrive because: Our top-notch customer service and commitment to bringing high-quality products at affordable prices.
The process has been: Great. The City Clerk's office was very responsive during the licensing process and there are only some minor operational changes we had to incorporate to address rules in the Traverse City ordinance that go over and above the state rules.
Gage Cannabis Co, 1025 Hannah Ave
Our differentiation: Gage grows plants in small batches using 100 percent hydroponic cultivation methods for sustainable and responsible operations. From handpicking every plant to employing a proprietary drying, trimming, and curing method, each step of the Gage process is deliberately designed to deliver the best flower possible.
We will thrive because: We are one of the largest vertically-integrated operators in Michigan. Michigan has proven to be one of the biggest cannabis markets in the U.S. and as of August of 2020, we command over 10 percent of Michigan’s medical marijuana market sales while only operating approximately one percent of the retail locations.
The process has been: Great. Since coming into the Traverse City area, we have been focusing our efforts on connecting with the community. For starters we have adopted a highway that we maintain weekly and we’re volunteering with local organizations such as Grand Traverse Regional Conservatory to transform and maintain the beauty of this area. We look forward to expanding our efforts as we settle into our new home.
GreenPharm Traverse City, 719 Parsons Rd
Our differentiation: We are experts in pain management and can advise cannabis use for specific conditions.
We will thrive because: Our personalized service and the relationships we build with the community. We pride ourselves as leaders in the industry, offering the highest quality products at the best price, with great customer service.
The process has been: A great experience. The welcoming and fun-loving people of Traverse City have been a delight and have helped make this place our home.
Highly Cannaco, 752 Munson Ave
Our differentiation: We strive to educate our customers and provide them with the knowledge to make smart purchases that are specifically meant for their individual needs. Our goal is to support local growers and processors by carrying their products and using a ‘farmer’s market’ approach. We genuinely care about our community and give back through a variety of initiatives, such as volunteering programs partnered with Goodwill and conducting food drives.
We will thrive because: Our staff is knowledgeable and provides the best customer service possible. We focus on what is best for the customer, not on selling them something they don’t need.
The process has been: Fairly seamless and pain-free.
House of Dank, 514 Munson Ave
Our differentiation: House of Dank is committed to providing world-class cannabis and cannabis products to everyone who walks in the door, whether they’re from across town or across the globe. Our large selection of various types of flowers, concentrates, edibles, CBD, and other products make us a leading provisioning center in Michigan.
We will thrive because: We’ve been at this a long time and pride ourselves on our friendly, knowledgeable staff that are here to serve you. Our in-house team of experts have a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabis.
The process has been: Pretty straightforward. They have been very accommodating during the process of us opening.
Lighthouse, 704 S Garfield
Our differentiation: We offer an upscale, modern, and professional environment that is inviting and welcoming to customers. Our knowledgeable staff, pristine cleanliness, and abundance of products make us a spot that is fit for all patients, with unique new-age dispensary vibes.
We will thrive because: We take pride in giving the highest quality service to our guests. We keep everything sanitized to an industry-leading standard, our knowledgeable staff will answer any question in order to make guests feel as comfortable as possible, and we believe in equality for all. We are a family here and once you walk in you will not be disappointed.
The process has been: A learning process. [The City of Traverse City] has strict regulations in place and we are fully compliant with all of them. We will continue to do everything in our power to abide by all guidelines and laws in order to be an asset to the community, and will work hand-in-hand with officials in order to run a smoothly operating company that provides the best experience in town.
Nirvana Center, 223 Lake Ave
Our differentiation: Nirvana Center is a medical marijuana provisioning center specializing in customer education, experience, and satisfaction.
We will thrive because: Nirvana will thrive because of dedication, culture, and social responsibility.
The process has been: Extremely supportive and helpful. COVID-19 proved to be a challenge, and the city was well prepared. Nirvana Is hopeful to receive one of the limited adult use licenses, as we believe this to be a beautiful city.
Redbud Roots (Acme), 669 E M-72
Our differentiation: With our strong medical focus, our dedicated wellness staff is able to bring the highest quality experience for each patient. Our main focus is to bring professionalism and education to the cannabis industry.
We will thrive because: We offer a patient-centric approach.
The process has been: Enlightening. We hope we will be able to find a way to move forward toward adult-use and all of the benefits that it would bring to the community.
Skymint Premium Cannabis, 822 E Front St
Our differentiation: Skymint’s unique open-space retail concept encourages exploration, interaction, and education. We design our stores to take a 21st century, consumer-focused approach. Our guests want an inviting space that resembles the experience of elevated retail they’ve become accustomed to in other industries.
We will thrive because: We focus on people first. We like to say ‘Happy people make happy plants and happy plants make happy people.’ Our dedication to consumer experience helps us make lifelong fans out of first-time customers.”
The process has been: We understand that every community has different needs. It’s our goal to be good community partners. That means working side-by-side with local businesses, community members and officials to help craft the best policies in each municipality.
NOTE: Traverse City’s other three dispensaries – PUFF Cannabis (1226 S Garfield Ave), TeeBz (728 E Front Street), and Royal Highness LLC (314 Munson Ave) – did not respond to requests for comment.