Ryan Hudson waited wearily in line and thought, “This could be sensational.”
Instead of long lines funneling into dreary spaces at a San Francisco dispensary back then, he imagined something different. An upscale experience in an architecturally beautiful space staffed by helpful, knowledgeable professionals.
Years later, Hudson and his partners brought the concept to life. An idea sparked by his “lightbulb moment” in line that day, and years of work bore fruit in 2011, when the The Apothecarium opened its doors on Market Street in San Francisco.
In a space so beautiful it was cited for its architectural excellence by Architectural Digest, The Apothecarium attracted customers so readily that three additional spaces were opened; two more in California and a fourth in Las Vegas, Nev.
In this week’s Boxerbrand blog Recipe for Success, longtime Apothecarium staffer Chase Chambers, who has worked alongside Hudson from the beginning, discusses the brand and the business.
BB: Tell me more about The Apothecarium and its beginnings.
TA: The Apothecarium was founded by Ryan Hudson, three of his cousins and two family friends in 2011. The idea was to fill a niche that to provide a service to the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, which was the birthplace of the movement to legalize medical marijuana use.
The goals were to create something that served the needs of the LBGT residents, seniors and veterans in the area. And, at the same time, to be a good neighbor and conduct ourselves in a way that made us a positive addition to the community, and a great experience for customers.
BB: How do you make it a great customer experience?
TA: This goes back to Ryan’s ah-moment years ago when he was waiting at a dispensary. The woman in line in front of him was someone about his grandmother’s age, and she was there because she had a medical issue. Ryan noticed that the staff weren’t able to provide her with the information she wanted and pretty much from that point on he vowed to do it better.
Our number one priority is to provide guests with in-depth, one-on-one consultations with a highly trained staff. And we do this in a beautiful space where we strive to make everyone feel comfortable. When Ryan started working with architects and designers, he created an aesthetic with his own family in mind. He wanted it to be very clean, luxurious, and a place where his mother or grandmother would feel comfortable.
BB: Tell me about your architectural design.
TA: The founding partners worked very closely with architect Vincent Gonzaga and the firm Urban Chalet to create a neoclassical design. Our flagship store in Castro was named by Architectural Digest as being the best designed dispensary in the country. The look, feel and vibe were something the architect, designers and partners worked very hard on. They worked seamlessly together and had a great time making The Apothecarium something special and unique.
BB: How do you use Boxerbrand menu covers?
TA: When we first started The Apothecarium, we used a basic printed menu in cheap plastic. But we got to the point that we needed something nicer to better fit the aesthetic. We wanted an elegant and personal way to display our menu of product. We’re able to point to each item and describe it. The industry standard uses digital at dispensaries, but we felt this was more personal and elegant. — The Apothecarium uses Boxerbrand menu covers, the Italian Ultra line, in all their locations. Thank you!