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Dispensary Best Practices: A Q&A with Stephen Spinosa

Stephen Spinosa, vice president of retail operations at Good Chemistry, has over seven years of experience working in the cannabis industry in the operation and management of licensed dispensaries.

He was previously an inventory manager in a 7,000-square-foot medical marijuana cultivation in Colorado. Spinosa is currently part of the team at Good Chemistry dispensaries, which has locations in Aurora and Denver, Colorado. He oversees staff training, state and local regulatory compliance and seed-to-sale inventory tracking.

Spinosa recently delivered a keynote presentation at the Dispensary Next Conference in Portland, Oregon titled “From Waiting Room to High-End Retail Experience: How Dispensary Culture Has Changed from 2009 to Now.” He discussed the rise of high-end experience and gave tools for dispensaries to improve retail operations

Read the full story here.

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Employee Feature: VP of Retail Operations, Stephen Spinosa

How did you end up working for Good Chemistry?

I met Matt back in 2010. We would run into each other through various cannabis industry meetings held at different dispensaries. At the time I was growing and running a retail store for a competitor. We stayed in touch and eventually met up to discuss an opportunity, managing the Colfax store. I just left my prior job and was debating on staying in the industry. I met with Matt and connected with his passion for the industry and drive to help make cannabis legal. Matt had an extremely positive, but rare attitude about the Industry and I wanted to be a part of his team.

What is your role?

I oversee operations to ensure patients and customers have the highest quality products and services in a safe and secure environment. I am responsible for budgeting, seed-to-sale inventory tracking and management, state and local regulatory compliance, policy and procedure development, staff hiring, training and management. Another aspect of my job is to manage the company’s Compassion Care Program, which provides marijuana products to hardship patients at minimal or no cost. In short, I manage the business side of both the Aurora and Colfax location, make sure the staff is happy and working hard, and provide remarkable product to everyone who walks in the door.

What makes you come to work every day?

The culture we have built here at Good Chemistry is undeniable and makes my job fun and rewarding. I genuinely enjoy all of the people who work for GC so it doesn’t make coming to work a chore. Having an energetic, passionate crew has helped make Good Chemistry what it is today. Another aspect of my job I love is educating the Good Chemistry customer on remarkable cannabis. Being able to help people make their lives better through cannabis is extremely satisfying and why I do what I do.

What has been your favorite project at Good Chemistry?

Building the Aurora store was an incredible project, but my favorite project is actually one that is still in the works. This particular project will change how people view cannabis and the industry as a whole. It has been a blast to develop and I cannot wait to see how people react to it when it goes live during this year’s 4/20 festivities.

Where would you like to see Good Chemistry in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years I would like to see Good Chemistry become a household name in regards to quality cannabis. I can also envision a few more retail stores and grows in Colorado with a couple grows or stores, out-of-state.

What are some of the things you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my family; Preeya and I have twin boys, so we are very busy. I still get out to play basketball, work out, read, and enjoy/assess fine cannabis.

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Marijuana retailer focuses on rebranding cannabis, consistency and compassion to create loyalty

Creating Chemistry With Customers

by Joseph Peña

Good Chemistry’s executives like to say that all cannabis is not created equal.

They feel the same way about customer service.

The Colorado-based company has discovered that building a successful marijuana retail business in a highly competitive market requires a dynamic and diverse approach to creating bonds with patients and consumers. That, in turn, has helped the company win new customers and strengthen loyalty among existing ones.

Good Chemistry’s strategy includes:

  • Bringing on top-notch employees and investing in training to decrease turnover and deliver consistent service across locations
  • Elevating the company’s brand to attract new customers
  • Building connections with the community and educating new consumers about an oft-misunderstood product.

While many marijuana companies in Denver and other markets are trying to expand as fast as possible, gobbling up available retail and warehouse space isn’t a sure-fire route to success, said Stephen Spinosa, vice president of retail operations at Good Chemistry.

The key component is customer service.

“You can outpace your company culture very, very quickly,” said Spinosa, who trains and manages more than 100 employees at the company’s two retail stores in the Denver area, which serve both the recreational and medical markets.

“Then, ultimately, you’re just selling a product. But we provide a customer service experience … When it’s all said and done, customer service is a top priority.”

Indeed, Good Chemistry has won local recognition from Denver’s weekly alternative magazine Westword for its outreach to new consumers, while AdAge said the company is “among the most advanced of its peers when it comes to investment in overall brand strategy.”

Spinosa shared a few ways Good Chemistry has been successful in connecting with customers.

Create Consumer Education Material

Not every consumer is a cannabis aficionado, and even connoisseurs can learn a thing or two about marijuana strains and related products.

Hence Good Chemistry’s color-coded categories and its new consumer education guide.

The four categories – relax (green), relieve (orange), sleep (blue) and amplify (yellow) – separate strains by their intended effects. This is a simple and effective way to educate new cannabis consumers, as it reintroduces the plant in language a layperson can understand.

“When people come in for the first time, they’re walking out with new knowledge about what cannabis is and what it can do,” Spinosa said. “They have a better impression of the product and less apprehension.”

This strategy also is helpful for educating casual long-time users who don’t know much about the plant and are new to the state-legal realm of marijuana.

Good Chemistry also created its consumer education guide – called S.T.A.T.S. (Sight, Touch, Aroma, Taste, and Sensation) – to share tips for evaluating quality cannabis.

The pocket-sized print guide and its digital copy are light on branding. The last page credits Good Chemistry’s team and the back cover has the company’s logo, but that’s it. The move was intentional: Good Chemistry wants it to be a true guide that other retailers can use and share with their customers as well.

“We’d love to collaborate with others on educating consumers,” Spinosa said. “That is something we should do for the public, for the next states that come on the market, and for new consumers.”

Click here to read the full article.

 

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