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Common Citizen sets the bar for normalizing cannabis with Flowhub

7x sales increase after transition to adult-use
common citizen dispensary

About Common Citizen

Common Citizen is a vertically-integrated, Michigan-based cannabis brand committed to changing the social stigma around the plant.

“We are a human-centric, purpose-driven movement,” says Mike Elias, CEO of Common Citizen. “We believe the hero of the story isn't the plant, it's the people that consume it.”

Common Citizen dispensary, Flint, MI

To help consumers make purchasing decisions, Common Citizen stores — called "chapters" — organize product options by "common states" to represent the four most common needs people have that cannabis can satisfy, including Daily Dose, Sweet Relief, Time to Shine, and Unplug.

Chapter advisors support customers and patients every step of the way. “Customer service is everything. Everybody has the same product. Everybody has the ability to go to any dispensary. Why come here? You come here because of the level of service you get. You're going to feel safe and comfortable. And you feel like you're visiting a family member. That's a big difference from us and everybody else,” says Marla Wald, Regional Chapter Director at Common Citizen.

Common Citizen is not only progressive in their mission and values, they've also won international awards for their modern dispensary design.

common citizen dispensary design

“People want familiarity,” says Elias. “They want to walk into a space that feels comfortable and inviting. Most of the cannabis dispensaries historically in Michigan looked like military zones with three inches of bulletproof glass. If we're going to go after the 88% that don't consume, we need to come at it completely differently.”

"Common Citizen is really a way to accelerate normalization of consumption by letting consumers see themselves in the space."

Mike Elias
CEO at Common Citizen

Mike customerstory

Three Common Citizen chapters are currently open and operating: Flint, Battle Creek, and Detroit. Four more chapters are in development. All Common Citizen products are grown and produced in Michigan, “by Mighiganders for Michiganders,” as they say.

The Opportunity

The founders and staff of Common Citizen have high expectations of their retail operations, their service level, and their technology partners.

The first part of this is compliance.

Wald explains, “Compliance plays into everything. That is our culture. That's the standard. We don't deviate from compliance. We do everything to a higher level. So if [regulators] tell me I have to do this, we step it up.”

The second is customer experience.

Operating protocols need to be seamless to the customer. “We want to make that experience easy. We don't want them to feel like they have to wait for something or something's not working right,” explains Wald.

Common Citizen focus on customer service

The goal is for people to spend minimal time at the counter and reception. “We didn’t want [customers] to wait in line, so we had to think about how that process was going to work,” says Wald.

They walked it, rehearsed it, and tried to break it before ever opening their doors so that from day one, customers would receive the ideal experience. “We thought about every detail, to the way we set up tables, to the natural flow coming in through the door,” adds Wald. And they looked to use tech solutions to build onto and enhance this experience.

And finally, the cannabis tech stack.

Common Citizen is a modern, tech-savvy brand that operates much like highly-regulated businesses in other industries. For years, Elias ran hospitals, where safety, comfort, and service were paramount. He is taking that experience to elevate the way cannabis businesses operate.

“There's a lot of red tape, a lot of regulatory oversight and a lot of hoops,” says Elias. “IT systems are incredibly important to making real time decisions about whether we're winning or losing in this space.”

Common Citizen dispensary in Flint, MI

They not only demand a lot from their technology, but from their partners. Shared values and “fit” are important. “Fit is always something that we look for because if the fit is there, then when the issues arise, we can always work through them,” says Elias.

Elias is also working to bring GMP (good manufacturing processes) to the industry by designing their 12,000 square foot cultivation facility with GMP in mind, even though the state doesn’t require it.

The Solution

After researching several different companies, Common Citizen chose Flowhub because they trusted the level of support, aligned on values, and knew the partnership would meet their high expectations.

"I don't think we would be able to be where we're at without Flowhub. They have been a great partner in moving with this incredibly fast transition [to recreational]. We're enjoying six to seven times the volume in the last three to four days that we've been open in the adult-use market."

Mike Elias
CEO at Common Citizen

Mike customerstory

One of the primary reasons Common Citizen chose Flowhub was customer service. “What stood out for us is your service level. Our standard is very high and we wanted somebody to mirror that in our operating systems. Flowhub gave us that,” says Wald.

customer buy cannabis at Common Citizen dispensary

“What we value the most about Flowhub is your relentless focus on the client and the fact that you care so much — just as much as we care about our patients and our consumers. We pick up the phone and get a human on the other end and within 24 hours, it's not only resolved, the problem is extinguished. But it's not a bandaid, you're actually listening to us and improving your product,” adds Elias.

Beyond the ability to get real humans on the phone, the relationship was built on mutual growth and success. “We could see that you wanted to grow with us and you wanted to create and make these experiences bigger and better,” says Wald.

“We share a very similar value system, and I think that's why the relationship works so well,” says Elias.

"We don't have to worry about our software. It works and it's amazing and that takes a level of frustration away."

Marla Wald
Regional Chapter Director at Common Citizen

Many Flowhub features also have the approval of Wald and Elias. The Greet® app on the mobile Nug has facilitated a smooth and quick check-in process.

A customer checks in at cannabis dispensary Common Citizen

“The Nug allows us to expedite patients coming in. In an adult-use environment where the queue is high, that bit of efficiency allows us to streamline patients into the floor,” says Elias.

Marla adds, “It makes our life so much easier. We have the process of check-in down to about 2.5 minutes for a new patient or customer coming in. Once you're already in the system, it's a matter of scanning your ID. You’re in in seconds.”

"When you multiply the number of consumers coming in, by minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, any efficiency saved and the technology you provide does wondrous things for service. Flowhub plays heavily into our service. You play heavily into the morale of the staff."

Mike Elias
CEO at Common Citizen

Mike customerstory

Common Citizen also uses the Stash app on the Nug for inventory. With thousands of SKUs, being able to scan the barcode to see how much product is on hand is a game changer.

“We used to go in and handwrite everything. It would take hours and hours and hours. [The Nug] has reduced that tenfold for us,” explains Wald.

To aid in compliance, Elias speaks to the seamlessness of the Metrc integration: "Metrc is a very difficult bear to deal with. And the fact that you integrate so seamlessly and we don't have to rework any element of that really allows us to focus in on value added stuff."

Reporting, and specifically the new View® app, is another favorite feature. Elias uses the built-in dashboards for a quick glance at how the business is doing. Wald, as regional chapter director, has oversight of all stores and needs more granular insights. She also needs reports at her fingertips, which is why she loves the View app.

“I like knowledge. It's powerful,” Wald says. “I look at [View] probably 50 times a day. I can see how many people are in the queue. Are they returning customers, are they customers from other states? I can see my average sale and I can see what my dollar is at that very moment.”

Marla Wald checks the View dispensary data app from her phone

Wald sums it up by saying: “[Flowhub] is truly a wonderful system and I think it's all mostly because you're supportive of us and our demands. I know that we expect a high level of service and you deliver. It makes our lives easy."

"Flowhub has allowed us to be who we are."

Marla Wald
Regional Chapter Director at Common Citizen

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