PORTAGE, MI — Customers visiting the newest cannabis dispensary in Portage are first greeted with a sign that says, “High, we’re open.”
Once inside, patrons are faced with a mural of 420-themed images. Guests can browse branded clothing, ceramic pipes made by a Michigan artist and books like “420 Things To Draw While High.”
SkyMint, a new marijuana storefront in Portage, aims to be welcoming and approachable to cannabis rookies and veterans alike, said Julie Lowry, corporate merchandise with SkyMint.
The dispensary, located at 8542 Shaver Road in Portage, is set up like any other retail store, allowing guests to browse products rather than having them tucked behind the checkout counter, she said.
“I just love how inviting and open the space feels,” Lowry said. “It feels more like traditional retail.”
Summer Ransom-Cleveland, SkyMint’s president of retail, agreed, saying many other dispensaries are intimidating for those who don’t know much about the products, since customers aren’t able to browse from the checkout line.
“I always felt like there was a little bit of pressure to hurry up and make your decision,” Ransom-Cleveland said. “What my team and I set out to do is bring as much of that product from behind the cash registers out onto the sales floor.
“It almost takes on this sense of discovery — this environment of curiosity and learning and approachability,” she said.
Those unsure of their options or looking to learn more about cannabis are welcome at SkyMint, where staff will answer questions and help guests find the product right for them, Lowry said. The shop aims to take intimidation out of cannabis shopping, she said.
Once inside, display cases with a natural wood look separate pre-rolls from edibles and flower. The shop also offers concentrates, vaporizers and CBD for both dogs and their owners. In fact, guests are welcome to bring their dogs into the store with them while shopping, Lowry said.
The shop also offers accessories like marijuana-themed birthday cards and Snoop Dogg’s cookbook, “From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen.”
Before checking out, guests walk along a rack of checkout-aisle merchandise such as air fresheners and mints — except these mints are made specifically to tackle dry mouth.
Ransom-Cleveland said the goal of offering accessories and novelties was to give the customer a fuller “lifestyle experience.”
SkyMint in Portage had a soft-opening on Thursday, April 8, where about 160 customers were served, Ransom-Cleveland said. The store’s grand opening event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 14, she said. The ribbon-cutting event will include city leaders and a food truck.
“If that was a soft-opening, this will essentially be a little bit of a loud opening,” Ransom-Cleveland said.
Portage’s location is Skymint’s 12th shop in Michigan, Ransom-Cleveland said. Headquartered in Ann Arbor, the business is planning another 10-plus stores in the state in the next year and is looking to expand outside state lines, she said.
“We definitely want to put stores in as many communities as we can get into in Michigan,” Ransom-Cleveland said.
Future plans also include a shop in neighboring Kalamazoo in 2021, she said.
SkyMint now operates 10 adult-use shops and two medical marijuana dispensaries. While medicinal products aren’t available at the adult-use stores, people with a medical card get 15% off their purchase, she said.
About 80% of the products sold at SkyMint are the house brand, while the other 20% are from other Michigan brands, she said. SkyMint’s products are made “at the most advanced cultivation and production facility in the state,” Ransom-Cleveland said.
“We pretty much control 100% seed to sale,” she said. “We grow the babies, we nurture and love the plants and those turn out to be those end products. We know where they come from.”
Skymint in Portage is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
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