With its futuristic pharmacy vibe, and a revolutionary color-coded menu ordering system, Ajoya is setting the standard for modern cannabis retail design and service
The management team at Ajoya has come up with a new way to sell retail cannabis: by color-coded categories custom-tailored to consumers’ experience. There’s Settle (purple): “A great way to soothe your body and still your mind and garner some long-lasting euphoria that spreads through your body.” Unwind (blue): “Let the stresses of your day go and let your mind wander as these potent and quick-acting strains replace your cares with a relaxed jubilation.” Focus (green): “These strains provide a clear sense of calm that still allows for wonder and sensory awareness.” Elevate (orange): “These strains raise your spirits and keep you productive all day. Energetic and uplifting effects are known to accelerate creativity and happiness.”
“Our best sellers are Wana Brands, Cheeba Chews, and Incredibles. As a percentage of sales, we tend to sell more edibles than the average Colorado dispensary.”
-Nicole Kennebeck, director of retail operation
Ajoya launched, team members already had dipped their toes into the business and learned the dos and don’ts. “Before we launched Ajoya in October 2015, we were Compassionate Pain Management, a dispensary with a more holistic and medical approach,” said Nicole Kennebeck, 31, director of retail operations. “The shop was set up in a one-on-one-consultation style. We made the choice to rebrand with the development and growth of a new recreational market. We saw the chance to bring a new conversation about cannabis to an even greater number of people, so we took it.”
Ajoya’s hushed, polished confidence was designed by Jeff Sheppard, principal of the firm Roth Sheppard and 2016 Architect of the Year, as named by the American Institute of Architects’ Colorado Chapter. Sheppard’s goals were clear: a clean, curvy, and predominantly white main counter that resembles something between the bar of a trendy cocktail lounge in Barcelona and a futuristic pharmacy. Customers relax on glossy stools as they consult with their budtenders. Products glow in the brightly-lit countertop displays that rise above polished concrete floors. An exposed ceiling rises above. To be sure, the 2,000-square-foot retail shop is striking. Kennebeck loves it.
“Ajoya has created family and a cannabis career path for me,” she noted. “Working for the Gindi brothers, who have put their heart and soul into this brand, leaves me with that warm and fuzzy feeling. There is a certain level of satisfaction that money can’t buy in working for people who not only care about each other, but the people who give their all for them.”
“Ajoya was created to change the way people experience being a cannabis consumer, or lack of experience, really,” said Kennebeck. “We wanted to be part of changing the way people talk about and experience cannabis from smoking it, eating it, and purchasing it. Ajoya is an Esperanto word for celebration of experience, and we brought this to a cannabis brand to get people related to the plant as such.”
“The brand design is informed by the richness and range of the cannabis experience,” Kennebeck said. “Elevate, focus, unwind, and settle are the four experiences that we have created and associate with our strains to make each strain relatable no matter what your current cannabis knowledge and/or experience.”
The design team at Roth Sheppard “did an excellent job of creating a comfortable, clean, and fun space, to say the least,” Kennebeck said. “It definitely has a very modern feel with a cannabis culture touch.”
“All budtenders are required to be badged with the Marijuana Enforcement Division of Colorado, of course,” noted Kennebeck. “We also look for prior retail or customer service experience. We don’t require any cannabis industry experience, though it is appreciated. Most importantly, all our budtenders must have thorough knowledge of compliance and keep up on regulations as they change—which can be frequent.”
Wana Brands, Cheeba Chews, and Incredibles. “As a percentage of sales, we tend to sell more edibles than the average Colorado dispensary,” said Kennebeck.
1100 DILLON RD. D-3
LOUISVILLE, COLORADO 80027