This Cannabis Dispensary by Superette and Emily Robin Design has Visitors Seeing Green
Although Canada is miles ahead of the U.S. when it comes to cannabis dispensaries, its provincial regulations prohibit recreational products from being visible outside a store. Furthermore, inside, they must be out of reach to customers prior to purchasing. It’s a challenge that Superette, which operates seven outposts across the country, with two more on the boards, leans into by hiding in plain view as an everyday minimart. “Familiar retail environments are at the core of our inspiration,” Superette chief brand officer Drummond Munro points out. The newest Toronto location, called Annex, a collaboration between Superette’s in-house creative team and Emily Robin Design, is a case in point.
The concept centers on a leafy-green palette and an aesthetic inspired by Italian delis of yesteryear. From the street-facing glass storefront, all that can be seen are shamrock-and-white checkered floor tiles, soda fountain–style stools, and a retro wall-mounted telephone—only regulars know the latter is the “Munchie Phone,” a direct line to Rose and Sons, a nearby actual deli. The two back walls are lined with what looks like cans of imported tomatoes and olive oil but are really custom props branded with Superette labels. They are just some of the whimsical points of discovery in the 810-square-foot space. “Design falls quickly off the priority list,” Emily Robin Sauer explains of dispensaries that often get overwhelmed by the regulations, resulting in utilitarian, pharmacylike settings. “But with this client, we’re given the freedom to bring joy and levity to someone’s day. And that’s design at its best, when people can feel your work.”
Farther into the store, out of passerby view, is where Superette’s host of THC-infused goodies can be found and purchased. Amid spearmint-painted walls is a custom menu board as well as a wall of glossy built-ins lined with pre-roll options and a counter display of additional products underneath vitrines in both glass and acrylic. Among the selections are such curios as vegetable-shape candles in deli-paper wrapping. Adds Superette creative director Alex Cirka: “We love to play with people’s perceptions.”
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