MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 37

Busy from 'Minute One'
In contrast to Artist Tree stores in
highly competitive markets such as Los
Angeles and Riverside County, which
didn't experience a surge of customers
when they first opened, " The Fresno
location was super busy from minute
one, " Fontein said.
The clientele ranged from seniors
with medical marijuana patient
cards to recreational customers who
previously drove long distances to
purchase regulated cannabis.
" We had somewhat of an idea that we
would be busy, but (we) underestimated
that-and how quickly we had to ramp
up with staff, " Fontein said.
The Fresno Artist Tree location
started with about 25 employees when
it opened and gradually added more.
Today, the store has about 75 employees,
Fontein said. The company's other
retail locations, meanwhile, have 20-40
employees apiece.
The Fresno location continues to see
a higher volume of consumers than
other Artist Tree stores, and therefore it
needs more staff, Fontein explained.
" Once we got open, we were luckily
able to find a lot of people that were
really interested in working in a
dispensary. It hasn't been an issue to
find people that are interested, and
we're continuing to expand the team, "
Fontein said. " Our business model is
to have guides on the sales floor that
can help customers (on a) one-on-one
basis. So, it's a model that inherently
requires more staff than a behind-thecounter
sales model. "
Friend of the Arts
The Artist Tree also has used
community outreach to help garner
customers.
The retailer says its " whole business
model is built around promoting local
artists, " and the store functions as an
art gallery as well as a cannabis store.
To find artists to feature in the store,
Fontein first looked to Fresno's local
art scene.
The Artist Tree's Fresno store
requires more staff than the
chain's locations in Riverside
County and West Hollywood.
Courtesy Photo
" Even before we opened, I did a lot
of outreach in the city to connect with
the Fresno Arts Council and different
artists groups, " Fontein said.
That outreach led to the retailer
being included in a monthly ArtHop
organized by the Fresno Arts Council,
which hosts exhibits at different
venues, along with refreshments and
entertainment.
Fontein said that ArtHop participants
wishing to visit The Artist Tree must
be 21 or older (or 18 with a medical
marijuana card) and have their IDs
checked before entering the store.
The events in Fresno have gone so
well that The Artist Tree location in
West Hollywood is trying to organize its
own ArtHop-like event and has reached
out to local hotels and other businesses
to participate.
Because cannabis is less entwined
with Fresno's culture than it is in cities
such as Los Angeles and San Francisco,
effective marketing is especially
important to the Fresno store's success.
Fresno prohibits cannabis billboards,
so The Artist Tree location there advertises
in the Fresno Flyer, a local alternative
newspaper, and also participates in
more local community events than its
other stores do, Fontein said.
For example, The Artist Tree has a
" big presence " at the local FresYes Fest
in March. Though the business can't
sell products, it can give away swag and
use the opportunity to be visible in the
community.
" The idea is to get in front of
the entire community and people
who might be interested in trying
(cannabis) once they talk to us
and learn about our business, "
Fontein said.
The Fresno location also hosted a
blood drive with the Central California
Blood Center a few months ago, and
customers who donated blood received
a store discount.
" We completely filled the donation
spots, " Fontein said.
The company held a Thanksgiving
food drive and Christmas toy drive,
Fontein said. It also hosts art classes
in a restaurant next to the store in
conjunction with a company called
Paint Party USA. Product discounts
are offered to consumers who take
the classes.
" It's another way to lean into
the art aspect of our business and
collaborate with other businesses in the
community, " Fontein said. " It's raising
awareness. "
mjbizdaily.com | May-June 2023 35
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MJBizMag May-June 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMag May-June 2023

MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 1
MJBizMag May-June 2023 - 2
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