Cannabis retail guide: Kiaro, VancouverDaniel BettridgeOctober 11, 2019
Though it’s a Vancouver-based brand, Kiaro had to wait a while before it was able to open a store on its own doorstep. In fact, the company actually debuted their first stores in Saskatchewan and had to wait patiently before being given permission to open their flagship Kingsway location, just a stone’s throw from its head office.
The wait was worth it however, with Kiaro delivering an impressive retail experience that looks set to provide the barometer by which its contemporaries are going to be measured.
A retail ‘experience’ that showcases an evolution from the pot shops of yesteryear.
Visit Kiaro’s flagship store and you’re greeted with the kind of frosted windows that suggest that something illicit is taking place behind its doors. It’s an unfortunate side effect of draconian city regulations and something far removed from the experience you will find inside.
In fact, the second you open the doors you’re greeted with a spa-like space; a sleek, stylish and welcoming store that has been carefully designed so that customers don’t just shop, they experience. Like the company’s name, which derives from an Italian word meaning “to emerge from the darkness into light,” it’s a conscious attempt to transition people into a new era of cannabis consumption.
“The vision for the store is to become a community resource for cannabis education,” says Kiaro CEO Daniel Petrov. “By creating inviting and appealing retail spaces, staffed by well-informed consultants, we hope to destigmatize cannabis use and legitimize the industry.”
Appealing is definitely the word to describe the Kingsway store. From specially commissioned artwork, to comfy chairs, and multi-sense experiences, there’s a zen-like quality to the space. Explore a relaxing vibe that encourages you to take your time and enjoy your shopping experience rather than get in, get your products, and get out.
“The Kingsway store has been designed to relax and welcome visitors, and we hope to provide a safe space where consumers can browse cannabis products with confidence and ease,” adds Petrov. “Kiaro provides the tools, information, and resources for customers to not only make their own informed decisions, but also to be empowered to share this knowledge with others and become cannabis advocates themselves.”
As impressive as the store itself, what really stands out after spending some time inside Kiaro’s Vancouver location is its staff.
“Kiaro’s staff receive best in class training, which enables them to personalize the retail experience to the individual,” says Andrew Gordon, SVP of strategic partnerships and community at Kiaro. “Their primary role is to initiate meaningful discussions with guests, so they can recommend products and experiences tailored to their individual needs.”
The company prides itself on engaging, informing, and empowering consumers and it’s something that is evident throughout the store.
For newbies there is carefully curated literature that is on offer to browse in a comfortable seating area, as well as touchscreen information portals to help you find the best products to suit your particular need, mood, or desired effect.
For more experienced cannabis consumers there is an impressive display of buds so you can get up close and personal with the products. There’s even a terpene scent bar enabling you to engage all of your senses on your way to selecting your products of choice.
They aren’t just gimmicks to get people through the door either. Instead these are carefully thought out experiences that are designed to provide Kiaro’s team with the tools they need to help people find the perfect product. “As everyone is unique, they can guide the curious through the product inventory and expand on strain genetics and terpene profiles for the connoisseur,” explains Gordon.
Products & pricing
We’ve covered the “experience” you’ll find at Kiaro’s Vancouver store, but what about the “retail” part? That’s something the company has put a lot of time into as well.
“Our flagship store stocks a diverse range of cannabis products and accessories, including dried flower, prerolls, tinctures, and capsules; and these will continue to expand as new product categories, such as edibles, enter the regulated market,” says Gordon.
“All products are sourced from safe and reputable suppliers, that align with Kiaro’s dedication to socially responsible cannabis retail.”
Good to know
When we visited Kiaro, we were greeted outside by store staff who were sweeping the street. It’s not unusual either. In fact Kiaro not only keeps their own store in shape but the entire block, working hard to play their part of the local business community. It’s not the kind of thing that’s going to have a huge impact on your retail experience, but it does tell you everything you need to know about a team that is as passionate about the cannabis community as you are.
“By working closely with the local community, we intend to become the guiding light that proves cannabis retailers can, and do, make a valuable contribution to society,” says Petrov. “We want to be the retailer that crosses the divide, brings the community together, and appeals to anyone who wishes to enhance life enjoyment through cannabis.”
Be sure to bring a valid ID. You must be 19 years of age to enter the store.