About Zen Garden Wellness
Zen Garden Wellness is newly relocated in the Stockton, California area and services both medicinal patients and recreational guests.
As only one of three dispensaries currently located in Stockton, they carry a wide range of top quality cannabis products, exclusive brands and take pride in their very knowledgeable budtenders. For Zen Garden, it’s all about getting to better know their consumers — many who travel far just to visit this location — so that they can continue to service their communities’ needs.
Melody Nouanhchanh, general manager at Zen Garden Wellness, has been with the dispensary since its inception over five years ago, before the store recently relocated from Sacramento to Stockton. Working her way up from a receptionist to a budtender to management has given her not only personal growth opportunities, but also the chance to see Zen Garden evolve into what it is today. She’s also had the opportunity to help shape Zen Garden’s brand during the transition from a medical-only operation to both a medical and recreational one today.
Community has always been the common denominator for her and the business. Nouanhchanh even shared a story about how many people and businesses, including Zen Garden, donated to a fire relief fund following one of the devastating wildfires in Northern California.
"It’s very important to us that we show the community that we are not just selling cannabis. We are a part of this community. We are here for this community. We help each other out and provide a support system for our consumers. That’s one of the best parts of being in this industry."
General Manager, Zen Garden Wellness
But running a dispensary in today’s day in age comes with its own set of difficulties. Like many others, one of the biggest challenges for Nouanhchanh and her team is combating the ongoing stigma around the plant.
“We love to work and we love to be professional,” said Nouanhchanh. “We do have standards and we do uphold those standards. This is a very young industry and so we do our best to demonstrate to our community — and to the rest of the world — that cannabis is a legitimate operation that is helping people in numerous ways.”
Nouanhchanh is reminded of her days in the nursing world, where there were a lot of unexpected surprises. Cannabis is a similar experience. From inventory audits to staffing to servicing guests, this highly regulated industry is constantly changing and so that makes planning a challenge. Nouanhchanh shared that upholding those high standards becomes even harder when you have a POS and inventory management system that is failing you.
Reporting and inventory management were especially difficult with their previous software.
“Before Flowhub, we had a different POS system in place and it wasn’t working out too well. We didn’t like the reporting and the interface was not user friendly, which made our already difficult jobs more challenging. It’s hard to know where you are at as a business or how to plan for future growth when your technology is holding you back,” said Nouanhchanh.
Fabian Ordaz, assistant and vending manager at Zen Garden Wellness, loves numbers and data, but he did not love the antiquated methods of the previous software. Because of its diverse but loyal clientele, Zen Garden has the luxury of being able to create shelf space for multiple brands within the same category. That means keeping track of over 350 different SKUs at any given time. It’s incredibly time consuming to have to manually enter that data into a system. As someone who lives in spreadsheets, Ordaz desperately needed a reliable retail management platform that could easily upload CSV files in bulk and help automate the auditing process.
Since bringing on the Flowhub cannabis retail platform earlier this year, Zen Garden Wellness has been thriving like never before, and has even seen a 40% increase in quarterly sales.
Nouanhchanh was particularly impressed with the simplicity of the platform. All four budtenders have been able to transition to the new software and onboarding was a non-issue. In a matter of a few days, Flowhub was up and running without any disruptions to the business or to consumers.
One of the biggest benefits aside from the intuitive interface has been the reporting and analytics mechanisms. Nouanhchanh runs daily reports and now has a clear idea of where the business is and where it needs to go. She uses Flowhub to gather important operational and sales information such as how many returns were authorized in a day, how many guests pass through the store on average, which days are the busiest, which products are the most popular and how sales are trending over time. The ability to customize reporting is also a big benefit for the Zen Garden team.
“Overall our general experience has been great. I enjoy every time that I am able to use Flowhub’s platform for a new project because I know that they will always deliver accurate and valuable insights that will help me optimize our store. We also appreciate knowing that Flowhub is constantly updating its software and product roadmap in real time. They are very transparent about their products and how any new upgrades or changes might affect our business. For instance, we just upgraded to the new mobile Nug® device with no hiccups whatsoever.”
From an inventory management perspective, Ordaz has taken advantage of Flowhub’s CSV integration to help bulk upload his inventory to the retail system in a matter of seconds. He’s also been able to reduce time spent on bi-weekly audits significantly. What used to take 2-3 staff members a few days can be completed in as little as 8 hours.
"Being able to search our inventory by brand, category and quantity helps me know how fast we are going through product and how quickly I need to place an order. We pride ourselves on maintaining stable relationships with our vendors. Flowhub helps us more effectively communicate with our suppliers and establish a cadence for how often we will be in touch for product shipments."
Assistant Manager, Zen Garden Wellness
Additionally, Ordaz appreciates how easy it is to run a special. And specials are a big part of Zen Garden Wellness’ differentiation. Ordaz explains that they like to bring organic specials to everyone, not the same Munchy Monday specials that dispensaries typically tend to offer.
“We try to do more unique specials, such as $25 off an entire brand like Chemistry,” he said. “We can schedule that in our system within minutes and then the deal will automatically be removed after the timeframe expires. The ability to set it and forget it is a real time saver.”
Both Nouanhchanh and Ordaz would be remiss if they didn’t also mention how much Flowhub helps create a seamless experience for their guests. Nouanhchanh states that on top of the many things that Flowhub has done to help make her and her staffs’ lives easier is the fact that she doesn’t have to worry about guest security or safety.
“We are a high traffic store and so we appreciate the security measures built into Flowhub’s check in app with the mobile Nug device. We never have to worry about suspicious, expired or underage I.D.s and Flowhub makes it very easy to identify a customer as medical or recreational. Compliance can crush you in this business and Flowhub helps us make sure that guests never purchase more than their weight limit allows. Not only is that convenient but it allows us to keep track of their purchase history so we can offer tailored product recommendations. Our guests receive the right products and can go home to safely consume. That’s one less thing I have to worry about.”
All in all, Flowhub has helped Zen Garden Wellness drive efficiencies and reconnect with their community in a way not possible before. It also has helped them remain more competitive. With Flowhub by their side, the Zen Garden team has been able to enhance their business with crucial data insights, speed up check ins, streamline operations and provide a better experience for guests.
"Your guests are who you are and without them you’d be nothing. Choosing a retail platform that will benefit your business as well as your guests will help you in the long run. Having the peace of mind that a company like Flowhub is here for you, for your consumers and for your continued growth really matters a lot."
General Manager, Zen Garden Wellness