How To Stay Atop In A Crowded Retail Market
Sound advice from Oregrown Co-Founder Chrissy Hadar on how to differentiate your cannabis retail brand.
Where is the best cannabis in the legal industry?
It's a contentious subject. Many cannabis industry folks in the U.S. say the best marijuana in the legal industry is grown in Oregon. Why? Oregon is lush, it's home to the Cultivation Classic, a highly-regarded cannabis cultivation competition, and it has over 600 licensees. The state is so abundant in cannabis that legislators passed the Oregon cannabis export bill last year in hopes that Oregon cannabis can be exported and enjoyed nation-wide.
One highly-regarded Oregon brand to watch is Oregrown Industries. Founded in 2013, Oregrown is bringing a new retail storefront to Portland.
To kick off opening day, progressive cannabis advocate U.S Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democratic congressman of the state's third district, will be cutting the ribbon. The event is open to the public and ribbon-cutting happens at 6 p.m. on January 23, 2020.
Oregrown opened its Bend flagship dispensary in 2015. Its Portland store is the vertically integrated company's second storefront, located at 111 NE 12th Avenue, while stores in both Eugene and Cannon Beach will be coming online in 2020. The Oregrown cannabis store is a lifestyle brand and clothing shop intermingled with cannabis products. Its interior design is sleek, outdoorsy, down-to-earth, and very PNW. Echoing a Patagonia or a North Face, but it's a weed store.
The interior of Oregrown's new Portland dispensary and lifestyle brand location. (Image Credit: Nick Grier/Oregrown)
Chrissy Hadar, Oregrown's co-founder, President of Retail, and Chief Branding Officer, has sculpted the brand's ideology. Overseeing Oregrown Industries’ roster of 60 employees and expansion, Hadar fosters the organization’s financial and operational growth while "shepherding" the brand from the shadows of prohibition.
Opening any retail store is difficult, and Hadar concedes that. "We easily recognized there would be unique challenges in opening our first Portland flagship," she says.
But she has managed to flourish. Green Entrepreneur asked Hadar for advice that cannabis entrepreneurs need to know when it comes to entering and staying atop, especially in such a competitive marketplace.
Cannabis on display at the new Portland location of Oregrown. (Image Credit: Nick Grier/Oregrown)
"Our customers are our foundation, and I’m particularly excited about this endeavor because I was born and raised in Portland," Hadar says. "I really wanted to showcase the best aspects of our maturing brand, our love of Oregon, and take the Oregrown experience to new markets, delivering our award-winning experience to customers throughout the state."
Establish Trust With Customers
"While many established dispensaries in Portland exist, we are the only well-known cannabis retail brand left in Oregon that is still owned and operated solely by family and friends," Hadar says. "Authenticity -- not having to dilute our vision by conforming to some corporate idea of what Oregrown should be -- empowers us to stay true to our roots."
Consumers and employees in the new Oregrown dispensary space in Portland, Oregon. (Image Credit: Nick Grier/Oregrown)
Build Team Cohesion
Emphasis on employee loyalty is another aspect that sets a company apart in a sea of competition. Staying close-knit, remaining family and friend-owned, as Hadar says, "provides our teams the freedom to create and deliver unparalleled experiences for our customers."
"My advice to entrepreneurs coming online in competitive markets: Whatever the endeavor, or whichever part of the industry you choose to enter, strong teams are paramount," says Hadar. "The winning combination involves communication, cohesion, and a vibrant, positive company culture that thrives on kindness."
"Be brave and persistent -- the cannabis industry is not for the faint of heart.”
Oregrown's storefront in Portland, Oregon, opens January 23, 2020. (Image Credit: Nick Grier/Oregrown)