Thursday, June 1, 2023

Greater Lansing Dispensaries stock up for 'Black Friday,' 4/20

April 17, 2023
<p>Photo Illustration by Madison Echlin. Photo by Annie Barker.</p>

Photo Illustration by Madison Echlin. Photo by Annie Barker.

As the unofficial holiday of April 20 fast approaches, Greater Lansing dispensaries are gearing up for their premiere sales day of the year. The day, commonly referred to simply as "4/20," serves as a celebration of all things cannabis, pot, weed, ganja, bud or marijuana.

Michigan legalized recreational marijuana in 2018 with the passage of a constitutional amendment. Since then, The marijuana industry has experienced a period of rapid growth and transformation, with dispensaries striving to keep pace with the evolving legal landscape – along with increasing competition and consumer expectations. 

From stocking up on inventory to enhancing customer experience, East Lansing cannabis retailers are determined to meet the anticipated surge in customer traffic on 4/20.

Pure Options Director of Retail Operations Patrick Kettler, who referred to 4/20 as the “Black Friday” for dispensaries, said his shops are stocked with six weeks of inventory compared to just two for a typical week of sales.

“We usually go three times as much inventory at our shops as we normally do, just to make sure that we have all the product we need for the customer demands," Kettler said. 

The spike in inventory has its challenges, Kettler said, because other dispensaries are also stocking up, bringing about issues with the supply chain and third-party vendors.

Similarly, Ascend Cannabis Provisions Manager Adrienne Denniston said stocking for 4/20 induces competition between the plethora of dispensaries in East Lansing.

“There’s only a limited amount of (product) for some vendors and cultivators,” Denniston said. “It’s basically first-come, first-serve.”

Pincanna Chief Retail Officer Maria Wadenstorer said Pincanna’s inventory on 4/20 is around 30 percent more than its average numbers. The store’s marketing teams decided to implement a “90s” theme on 4/20 for in-store music, employee dress code and trivia questions to keep customers occupied while waiting in line at the dispensary.

To enhance in-store service and diminish wait times, Wadenstorer said the staff encourages customers to order online so they can “pick up and go.” 

Kettler said anticipating long lines, Pure Options will be staffed double the usual amount on 4/20 in addition to security presence. The security will help with the line flow, ensuring customers enter and exit the store in an efficient fashion. 

Likewise, Wadenstorer said Pincanna’s East Lansing store will be “all hands on deck." 

Since Ascend is quick to get customers in and out of the door, Denniston doesn’t anticipate long wait times. The store will be fully staffed and she said more customers are choosing the delivery option.

“Because we offer delivery, I don’t foresee having the large lines because a lot of people do opt-in for that,” Denniston said. 

Kettler said Pure Options began planning for 4/20 on the first of the year. The company’s focus is examining its customers’ purchasing habits and adjusting its deals and promotions accordingly. Kettler said the store’s 4/20 deals, which last the entire week from Monday to Sunday, will feature close to 25 promotions offering significant discounts.

“Our consumers are going to tell us what they want and how much of it that they want,” Kettler said.

Ascend started to prepare for 4/20 a month ahead of time, Denniston said. She ordered triple the amount of product than usual in bulk to ensure everything is stocked. Ascend will feature 4/20 discounts in addition to pre-existing deals, according to Denniston.

“We are going to be running a couple of heavier discounts on top of what we’re already running,” Denniston said. “So, discounts on discounts.”

With Pure Options approaching its first anniversary in Lansing, Kettler said he hopes to capitalize on the momentum of 4/20 not just through its products but by presenting an elite customer experience to set it apart from the rest. 

“Everyone can run similar deals,” Kettler said. “Everyone’s going to have similar pricing, and that’s going to take you so far. Our idea of 4/20 is getting people in and showing the difference is what we’re giving in customer service.”

This year marks just the second 4/20 for Pincanna in East Lansing, Wadenstorer said. She and her teams are keeping their eyes open for consumer trends, habits and service takeaways. 

“What I’m looking the most forward to is, ‘What can we learn from this year to do even better next year?’” Wadenstorer said. 


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