Planet 13 made history when it opened the largest dispensary in Nevada in the fall of 2018, and now the company has done it all over again with the opening of its first store in California, which is expected to be the largest in that state.
The Orange County SuperStore in Santa Ana celebrated its grand opening July 1, and is positioned near Disneyland Park and South Coast Plaza, the largest shopping mall in Southern California.
David Farris, Planet 13’s vice president of sales and marketing, said the company’s decision to enter this market was based on market research and customer data, which revealed that many of the customers at Planet 13’s Las Vegas SuperStore were traveling from Southern California.
“We felt like we picked an almost perfect location, really close to the freeway and in a 15-minute radius from Newport Beach and Disneyland,” Farris told Cannabis Dispensary. “We felt like there was a natural connection with the cannabis community there and the culture, [and] we felt there would be a nice blend of tourism there, as well.”
The SuperStore will span 55,000 square feet when fully built out, with 16,500 square feet devoted to the sales floor. The remaining areas, which will be constructed in two forthcoming phases of the build out, will include memorabilia sales, ancillary retail and a cannabis consumption lounge.
When completed, the dispensary is expected to be the largest in California and the second largest in the world, following Planet 13’s location in Las Vegas. The SuperStore, which will employ more than 250 workers, features the Planet 13 red globe outside the dispensary, as well as several interactive displays, including a digital floor that leaves customers’ footsteps in the sand to be washed away by the ocean waves as they walk in, a 16-foot octopus that greets incoming guests, an 80-foot digital waterfall cascading from the ceiling, a VW surfer van and hundreds of colorful umbrellas hanging from the ceiling.
The SuperStore has 50 cash registers to keep traffic flowing smoothly, as well as three store-in-store areas in partnership with Select, STIIIZY and Moxie.
“I think each of those [brands] are unique and offer something a little bit different,” Farris said. “Our whole goal was to capture that store-in-store concept, … where customers feel like they’re able to interact with that brand on a different level. … We want to give our brands in the stores that opportunity to interact with the consumer and build out what that brand experience looks like.”
Coming In With a Bang
The week prior to the Orange County SuperStore’s July 1 grand opening, Planet 13 hosted a VIP party to offer a sneak peek of the new location. Hundreds of people attended, Farris said, including the Santa Ana mayor, celebrities and many of the company’s vendors.
“It was definitely an over-the-top event,” he said. “We had themed cocktails and a dragon breath popcorn bar, where as you chewed the popcorn, smoke came out of your mouth. It was really cool thematics, and it was really so people could come see the store and [get] a tease of what the store looks like. We had an amazing response to that event.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony was also well-attended, Farris added, with a line wrapped around the building.
“I think people are so taken aback by the quality and architecture of what we’ve been able to put together,” Farris said. “It’s something that I think is very new to that California market, something that is so polished and … has great facilities and great prices and great products—it checks every box.”
Planet 13 planned to enter California in a competitive way, he added, and has achieved this by offering a wide variety of products and competitive pricing, which is made possible through the company’s bulk purchasing.
The dispensary also strives to cater to all types of clientele, whether it’s a customer who wants to spend some time enjoying the architecture and discussing the products with the budtenders, or someone who wants to be in and out to make a quick purchase.
“Something that we’ve been able to create is photo moments, where you can sit there and bring your friends and family and visit, or it can be your one-stop shop where you’re in and out in five minutes,” Farris said. “We’re basically building weed for everyone, and … you can build your own experience. You can spend an hour with a budtender and ask questions, or you can spend five minutes and be in and out. It’s really our flexibility and our ability to know our customer.”
A host greets customers as soon as they check in to the dispensary, and then they are free to browse the sales floor on their own or connect with a budtender to build out their order.
“We’re big into our service model, so we’re all about that one-on-one service,” Farris said. “Every budtender has gone through a full training process and is very eager and excited to help you. That’s what we’re passionate about, helping people find the products they’re looking for, and we make sure the customer sees that we’re excited to be here, too. We share that excitement and that energy.”
Farris said Planet 13 is “very optimistic” about both the Nevada and California markets, and the company continues to focus on ways to meet consumers’ needs and create a loyal customer base in both locations.