By: Ashley Smithson
3rd Street Dispensary co-founders (Mark and Mary Ann Westhues; Tom and Cheryl Annen) know all about loyalty. With Tom and Cheryl's hospitality background and a successful chain of diner-style restaurants under their belts they felt fairly confident they could translate their customer-forward business model to the cannabis industry. Starting with the motto "We're in the people business selling pot, not the other way around" they were adamant there be a REWARDING loyalty program put in place for 3SD patients.
"From the beginning, we wanted a way to reward our most loyal patients" says Cheryl. While they were one of the first in the state to be awarded their dispensary license they knew there would be a growing number of dispensaries patients could pick from. "We want our patients to know how valued they are every time they choose us. We mindfully created a program where patients could redeem points for products or savings because needs are different."
Keeping an education and community based dispensary model, 3SD has additional ways to earn points that don't require a purchase. 3SD is still one of the only area dispensaries offering a cannabis package recycling program, even offering loyalty points for 3SD packages. In August, a local charity put out a call for school supplies and 3SD was quick to answer! Offering patients loyalty points for every school supply donated (plus a complimentary pre-roll for everyone that brought in three or more items). There are also points awarded throughout the year for different milestones reached and extra points awarded to community servants like nurses, teachers and military with several opportunities to earn double points throughout the year.
In building out the rewards options it was very important to the founders that there be several redemption options. "Just like cannabis itself, no one thing works best for everyone. We didn't just want to do a loyalty program to do one. We wanted it to be full of rewards patients actually wanted." explained Cheryl.
Every great loyalty program is only as strong as the rewards offered. One of the first rewards that came to Cheryl's mind was the highest redeemable reward, $600 off of a 3SD purchase AND a Day-in-the-Life Tour of 3rd Street Dispensary. Dispensary Manager, Kat Annen shared "we've learned that people are fascinated by regulations and operations so we figured someone that was willing to earn that many points and save them that long would really appreciate seeing what goes into selling legal cannabis.". General Manager, Brody Burgdorf added "there is so much that goes into selling just 1 gram of legal cannabis and we knew our patients would be interested to learn more.". On August, 18, 2022 the first patient to earn and save the necessary 200,000 points did just that.
A Day in the Life of a 3SD Cannabis Agent
A 3SD patient, who would like to remain anonymous, cashed in her 200,000 points to get $600 towards her purchase and got to badge up for the day. Her tour began with a brief history and tour of 3SD's beloved building given by Cheryl, Brody and Kat. (Thanks to that dang stigma we always talk about we will protect her identity and refer to her as Ms. Mary Jane below.)
Cheryl shared about their vision for opening the dispensary and how being a positive impact on the local community was at the forefront of their design ideas. "Initial design talks did not go well. Many of the architectural firms we talked to wanted to tear down the A-Frame structure but we knew how historic the building was and refused." It wasn't until meeting with C.W. Architecture out of Lee's Summit that they felt their concerns for keeping the integrity of the building were listened to.
After learning more about the building and design process Ms. Mary Jane was escorted through to the "Bud Room" where Cheryl explained the design elements that went into making 3SD a welcoming environment. Brody discussed product ordering and Kat walked her through the sales process.
Following the bud room, Ms. Mary Jane was led through to the best smelling room in the entire building, the "Prep Room". Short for preparation room, the prep room is where all of the patient orders are processed. Every day inventory specialists bring all of the cannabis products out of the vault and organize them in easy to grab bins.
"We saw a synergy between how restaurants are set up and how a dispensary needs to run. The prep room is often referred to as the kitchen as tickets come in, and orders are prepared just like at a restaurant" said Cheryl.
All patient orders are sent to the prep room where products are pulled based on a series of numbers called "METRC". These numbers are printed on the receipts as well as labels put on the products during intake. These numbers are then checked against the receipt and product by a prep agent and the budtender or management before being highlighted and handed to the patient. The budtender also goes over each item ordered as it goes into the bag confirming again these numbers matched.
The tour continued to the vault (sorry this is not pictured for security reasons) where Brody went in great detail about the product ordering process.
Ms. Mary Jane was able to see a delivery processed and the highlight of her experience was getting to portion some cannabis buds into quarters. Prep agents explained the process for selecting buds to make sure each and every portioned container is something they would be happy to get themselves.
The tour ended with a cake and a group photo that she requested to be cropped out of.
"Loyalty goes both ways. We respect our patients right to privacy. Sure we were a little sad we weren't able share more about our first tour redeemer but we know all too well about the stigma many of us still face." Cheryl explained. "Stigma and judgment come from a lack of knowledge. It is through tours like these and educating the community we work to break that down. We want people to know we're not scary and we love what we do!"
To sign up for 3rd Street Dispensary's VIP Text Club (where you can also track your loyalty points) visit us online, talk to your budtender in-store (our favorite) or call 816-890-WEED(9333) for more information.
Medical decisions should not be based on advertising. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of particular medical marijuana products.