If you live in an area where medical marijuana storefront collectives are legal, then you probably know that if the product is there, customers will come and the cash will flow. At least for a while. However, why do some collectives gain a steady stream of high quality repeat customers while others attract shady clientele who might buy once or twice and never come back?

Recently, I visited a number of collectives in Sacramento, California. I wanted to see what people were buying and how the different collectives represented themselves.

All of them had decent products, but they differed in customer service. Whereas some were brusque, rushing their clients in and out quickly, others took their time, making the experience feel more like a relaxed social call than a trip to buy medication. Although I didn’t visit every collective in Sacramento, the following three particularly stood out for offering a unique and quality experience.

Located in midtown Sacramento near a number of hospitals and doctors’ offices, A Therapeutic Alternative is all about health. As soon as you step through the door you feel like you’re in an old-time doctor’s office. After signing the forms, a consultant sits down with you and takes your medical history. Then you are ushered into a back room where the budtender helps you choose the right products for your needs.

A Therapeutic Alternative also offers a number of other alternative health therapies such as stress reduction techniques, reiki and other massage services, classes and support groups. Their ultimate goal is to help patients heal, and that is the trait that this collective embodies more than any other.

Abatin Sacramento has a strong emphasis on education. Their onsite library and video library provides hundreds of articles about the latest research in medical marijuana around the world, and they are in the process of developing classes and support groups to offer to the community.

Abatin has an onsite laboratory for testing and offers streamlined self-service as well as full service for customers. They are also big on communication and have extensive lists of helpful information and guidelines for visiting their collective.

The next collective is in Shingle Springs, in the foothills just outside Sacramento.  

Large and spacious, Foothill Health and Wellness’ community spirit can be felt as soon as you step into their shop. Vibrant art from local artists decorate the walls. T-shirts and handcrafted gifts are for sale. Free yoga and art classes are offered and depending on the day of the week, you might be able to get a free chair massage.

The vibe at Foothill is casual and friendly from the attendant who remembers everyone’s names to the knowledgeable budtenders who offer insight into the various attributes of their products.

Each of these collectives is similar to the others in their range of products. There is also overlap among their services. However, they have each chosen to emphasize a specific trait in their business model: health and wellness, education and community. This gives the business a personality and helps customers familiarize themselves with the business. Customers begin to understand that what they find here is special and different, and they keep coming back.

All this should ultimately lead an aspiring ganjapreneur to one final question: which trait do you want your marijuana business to emulate?

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