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How Dazed's NY Expansion is Redefining the Cannabis Retail Vibe

+2 multi-state operations
dazed cannabis dispensary new york

About Dazed

Dazed, a Black and Veteran owned multi-state cannabis retailer, is setting the tone for modern success in a tightening cannabis industry.

With star-studded “pink carpet” grand openings, on-site DJs, and an infusion of local culture, Dazed is making cannabis fun (and profitable) again.

Founded by Keshawn Warner, Rich Rainone and Chris Vianello, Dazed has a fresh perspective, energy, and vibe that feels both universal and highly localized based on each store's setting.

Dazed cannabis dispensary founders executive team

With grand plans for expansion, the question for Dazed isn’t whether they’ll make it, but how far they will go.

Still, the road to success isn’t easy. Co-founder Rich Rainone told us, “You have to put in 18-hour days, seven days a week to make this happen,” adding that for someone in his position, “You have to be hands-on.”

We sat down with Rich to learn the magic behind running and growing Dazed—a dispensary you don’t just buy weed from, but vibe with.

Rolling out the pink carpet

Rich mentioned Dazed is all about shaking up the industry and creating an environment that's reminiscent of the effects of cannabis.

“Dispensaries felt stagnant with an overbearing medical feel. We took the opposite approach and softened the experience. We got rid of traditional security guards, fluorescent lights, and disengaged budtenders," Rich explained.

"When you walk into our dispensaries, it feels like a party. Music is playing, there’s bright colors, budtenders are energetic, and there’s a nostalgic, exciting feeling you don’t typically get when buying weed.”

Rich Rainone
Co-Founder at Dazed

Rich Rainone

To celebrate their newest location in Union Square, Dazed rolled out the pink carpet, literally. Their official grand opening featured a star-studded pink carpet party, complete with curated playlists, celebrity guests, pink decor, and a rousing sense of style and culture.

Dazed cannabis dispensary grand opening

“We’re carving our own lane,” said Rich. “Other industry parties have a very different vibe, but we’re bringing a new energy to the space.”

The staff run the show

Rich’s role at Dazed has him overseeing day-to-day operations, meaning he primarily works with store managers and staff.

From the ground up, the staffing philosophy Rich delegates is far from traditional, but seems a perfect fit for the cannabis counterculture. It’s been effective so far, as Dazed sees incredibly low turnover.

“We don't treat our staff like employees, we treat them like partners. We pay for their breaks, we provide lots of free samples, and we make sure they feel empowered.”

Rich Rainone
Co-Founder at Dazed

Rich Rainone

The staff at every Dazed shop is hired locally, which makes the customer experience at each store entirely unique. That’s because at Dazed, the employees run the show.

“We let our staff run the vibe of the store," Rich said smiling. "They're the DJs and play whatever music they like. The only uniform they have is a Dazed shirt. Other than that, they can wear whatever they want.”

Even with considerable freedom, there’s a proven process to Dazed’s front of house experience. It all starts when a customer walks in. “You're always going to have somebody smiling at you, welcoming you in, and starting you off on the right foot,” said Rich.

Dazed dispensary employees

Then they personalize and enhance the experience further using Flowhub, the dispensary growth platform. Rich noted, “What I love about Flowhub is our staff can add checked-in customers to a queue, then tell them not to worry about waiting in line and to just walk around the store until we call them up. It softens the experience.”

Rich is a proponent of calling customers by their names and building relationships. With Flowhub's Cashier Customer Insights, his staff can see detailed customer notes, plus purchase habits and frequency, directly in their cart.

“Everyone wants to know their budtender, just like they want to know their bartender or barista. Flowhub helps us personalize our customer interactions and make every experience positive.”

Rich Rainone
Co-Founder at Dazed

Rich Rainone

Scaling like Starbucks

Building a retail setting that dispensary staff and customers both love is only part of the battle for cannabis retailers looking to expand.

Dazed cannabis dispensary interior

The focus behind Daze extends beyond how employees operate in a single location to creating an operational staffing system that scales with their growth path.

“It's about getting those procedures down. We want to be able to duplicate ourselves as we open up new stores. Keeping that consistency throughout the stores is a big part of my focus.”

Rich Rainone
Co-Founder at Dazed

Rich Rainone

But how do you rapidly duplicate cannabis retail environments across state lines? Rich takes inspiration from Starbucks, the most popular coffee shop in the world.

“If you go to 99 out of 100 Starbucks locations, the experience is always the same, it’s consistent,” said Rich. “The employees are all great, the coffee tastes the same, everything is clean—that’s what we're looking for in terms of consistency across Dazed dispensaries.”

Why Dazed chose Flowhub

Rich and his fellow co-founders are smart, driven, and aligned on what they want and how they’ll get there.

“We have a great ownership group that works well together. Myself, Chris, and Keyshawn all have the same personalities. We all have our lanes and we all help each other,” Rich explained.

When it came to choosing their point of sale partner, Rich said, “We look at three things when it comes to our POS system: how is it for owners, how is it for our staff, and how is it for our customers.”

After evaluating Flowhub, their minds were made up.

Dazed dispensary leadership

Rich stated, “Flowhub is unbelievable compared to the other [POS] options," adding, "Overall, it’s just a great system.”

Rich is a fan of making decisions based on Flowhub analytics. He told us, “I spent about an hour yesterday going over the busy times of day based on data in Flowhub. Because of that, we're considering extending store hours in our Holyoke location.”

"We love Flowhub. Our staff love Flowhub. Our inventory team loves Flowhub. It's easy to use, and when Maui was launched it brought the platform to the next level. I don't even think there's a close second.”

Rich Rainone
Co-Founder at Dazed

Rich Rainone

Thank you to Rich and the Dazed team for sharing your learnings, and congratulations on all your success. We're proud to partner with you!

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