Some cannabis dispensaries in Las Vegas gear their marketing and promotions toward attracting tourists to their shops.

AYR Wellness Inc., a multistate cannabis cultivator and dispensary operator, takes a different approach at its three Las Vegas stores and one Reno location: The local consumer comes first.

AYR Wellness grows and sells marijuana, and also sells vape products. It has medical marijuana offerings in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, and recreational dispensaries in Nevada, Arizona, New Jersey and Massachusetts. And it’s just getting started, according to spokeswoman Nicole Silverman. AYR Wellness will soon rebrand The Dispensary sites in the Las Vegas Valley and Reno—along with Mynt retail cannabis stores in Reno—as simply AYR.

Silverman, marketing coordinator for AYR’s operations in the Western United States, spoke with Vegas Inc about the changes.

What are things like in the cannabis marketplace right now in Nevada, specifically in Las Vegas?

It’s an exciting time to be involved in the Las Vegas cannabis marketplace. The city is getting back to normal. Tourism is increasing, and events are being hosted throughout Las Vegas again. All that means more jobs and more income for the people who live here. Our dispensaries tend to cater more toward Las Vegas and Henderson residents, so it’s great to see our core customer base begin to thrive again.

Tell us about the branding changes.

The Dispensary has been ingrained in the local community, so we want people to know that, as we change our name to AYR and update the look of our stores, none of that will go away. It’s still the same people and the same excellent customer experience that our customers know and love, but with a refreshed AYR look and feel. We’ve worked to develop a strong dispensary experience in tandem with the broader AYR team over the past few years. Now we’ll have the opportunity to improve on that experience with the addition of new products like “Road Tripper” flower, STIX Preroll Co. and additions to our line of concentrates, vapes, edibles and beverages.

Some might think the cannabis market in the Las Vegas Valley is dominated by tourists. But as you said, that’s not the case with your company. How does that make business different at your dispensaries?

We operate some of the most popular dispensaries off the Strip, particularly our Henderson location. About 90% of our customers are locals, so if you want to shop like a local, we’re the place to go. Our stores have become widely known for the incredible variety that they provide, with each location having at least 1,500 different SKUs [stock keeping units].

We have something for everybody. We want to point out the dirty little secret that most dispensaries on the Strip do not extend their sales and discounts to customers from outside of Nevada. We’re happy to extend our sales and promotions to anyone who walks through the doors, regardless of whether their identification says Nevada on it.

Voters in Nevada approved the legalization of recreational cannabis in 2016, so it’s still a young industry. What’s it like operating in such a new industry?

I’ve worked in the cannabis industry for around five years now, having worked with a handful of industry leaders. The industry in Las Vegas is made up of extremely passionate, knowledgeable and supportive individuals, and I’m beyond proud to have been a part of this amazing family for so long. Seeing the strides we’ve made as a community and seeing how cannabis is now ingrained in the community is why we do what we do.

Because of some of the limitations due to federal laws that are still on the books, is it hard to do business in the cannabis industry?

It certainly has its challenges, but that just means we get to be creative and think up solutions. For example, cannabis has traditionally been a cash-only business due to federal illegality, but we are able to take either debit card or app-based payments at all of our locations, so customers don’t have to worry about carrying around cash.

What’s the next big thing for the industry in Las Vegas?

I think consumption lounges are the next big thing. We’ve already begun adding to our product portfolio to accommodate this. We’re bringing more craft offerings in flower, as well as cannabis beverages for customers to enjoy in a consumption lounge setting.

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This story originally appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.





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