Back in 2018, the cannabis industry was undergoing an important makeover. The neon-green proto-brands of the industry’s gray era shared dispensary shelves with “elevated” brands conjured up by bold creative agencies more accustomed to developing venture-backed, Instagram-ready consumer products.
Strutting into the market draped in royal blue and gold, articulated in an elegant serif font, flower brand Sunday Goods projected quality and a refined sensibility that was only beginning to emerge in the industry. The brand spoke to a rapidly expanding audience through classy, inviting design and an ethos of simply feeling good.
Born in a seven-acre Dutch Glass greenhouse in Arizona, the brand has become a staple of the state’s market and today has a pair of stores in Maricopa County, one of them located in Tempe. The 5,000-square-foot “superstore” is near an Arizona State University campus and the affluent suburb of Scottsdale, which gives Sunday Goods a chance to grab the attention of two highly prized consumer groups: new adults and high earners.
“From a brand perspective, having a flagship location to bring the product brand to life and expand its core values into retail is important to Sunday Goods,” said Matt Daley, the company’s vice president of marketing. “In the Tempe store, we wanted to do the things we couldn’t do in our original Phoenix store because of space limitations.”
From the outside, the Tempe store calls to mind the transparent yet understated midcentury Miesian-style dwellings found tucked incongruously into the arid desert landscapes of the southwestern United States, while the periphery is landscaped with native flora from the surrounding area.
Once inside, the store feels like a vivid realization of the brand’s core identity, something on which the team worked tirelessly and considers a key component setting it apart from competitors. “We really try to drive the Sunday Goods consumer experience, and a big part of that experience is the visual environment and the vibe you experience when you enter the store,” said Daley. “The embellishments like the floor-to-ceiling windows, the slatted walls, the custom woodwork, the brass, and the tile artwork all feed into that Sunday Goods brand aesthetic.”
The essence of a classy, elevated brand is immediately apparent. After checking their ID at the plush wood, marble, and brass island, customers can grab a kombucha or cup of complimentary coffee from a local producer and start exploring the shop floor.
“Our format allows for people to take in the entire assortment at their own pace with the help of the cannabis advisor if they’d like, or without if they don’t require any help,” Daley explained. “The shopping experience we’re aiming for is ‘enjoy a free beverage and peruse the floor freely.’”
The open shop floor has four large, pill-shaped wood-and-glass display cabinets and a pair of cylindrical marble islands to house products. The walls are baffled with wooden slats and tastefully merchandised for key brand partners like Select and Timeless Vapes and Sunday Goods sister brand Dusties. Around the periphery, TVs display deals and product information while little Saguaro cacti models and vinyl records are peppered throughout to bring the merchandised areas to life.
“Merchandising is a strong consideration in our stores,” said Daley. “We have a very talented retail-visual-merchandising manager named Shannon Balderrama who has really taken these stores by the horns and directed them visually in a way that’s very receptive to any consumer type.”
One area where astute design meets product displays is the newly installed flower wall, an interactive flower presentation allowing customers to smell and engage with the product—a luxury previously put on hold by the pandemic. “We put together a wall of small acrylic boxes that have magnification lenses and a button to push that will pulse out the aromatics,” said Daley. “This gives you a chance to truly shop our flower and strains in a way we really haven’t been able to do in the past three years.”
At the far end of the shop floor, feather and fern “chandeliers” hang among disco balls above a tasteful consultation and chill-out space, which hosts a tan leather couch, a wicker egg chair, some foliage, and reading material. “The lounge area is perfect for the folks who aren’t shopping and also folks waiting for their product in the back,” Daley said.
Lighting is a strong consideration in the store, with Sunday Goods opting for as much natural light as possible. According to Daley, “There is no lamp in the world for growing happy, healthy plants as good as the sun. This is the same for our stores. We approach lighting with a mixture of lots of widows that shower our store with natural light, and elegant, sophisticated overhead lights that draw attention to the product without overdoing it.”
Another key component of the store is the drive-thru which, in some shape or form, has become a fixture of dispensaries nationwide since the onset of the pandemic. Being in Arizona, Sunday Goods was conscious of the brutal summer heat and wanted to go a step further than the standard curbside pick-up, so the designers created an option that keeps shoppers in their cars throughout the experience for maximum convenience and comfort.
“The drive-thru option lets customers quickly and efficiently pick up the product they’ve ordered online and get on with their day,” Daley said. “Whether it’s the extreme heat during the summer or those occasions where we get rain, having the option to complete a transaction without leaving your car makes it easier on the customer.”
He added the drive-thru has increased in popularity every month, and the company is considering ways to make it more efficient and offer more variety and value to customers.
As well as being blessed with the space to accommodate a drive-thru, Sunday Goods’s Tempe store is allowed to stay open until midnight, which Daley feels is another important differentiator as the dispensary seeks to bring in as many people from the local community as possible. “The midnight closing time allows us to further serve that late-night consumer that might be getting off work but still wants to participate in the cannabis category,” he said.
While Sunday Goods isn’t the first company to offer reputable products at a good price in a gorgeous setting, it is one of the few product brands to translate its overarching brand ethos into brick-and-mortar retail immaculately and without losing sight of the customer experience.
“People want a shopping experience that fits their lifestyle, and Sunday Goods is an aspirational experience without the price tag,” said Daley. “It’s very much our goal to provide value and create an environment people feel really comfortable coming into and out of.”