Beyond / Hello may seem like a strange name for a cannabis dispensary to some, but for those who have experienced what Santa Barbara’s third pot shop has to offer, it couldn’t be more appropriate.
“We are all about sharing knowledge and learning what each customer’s needs are,” said Andreas “Dre” Neumann, the chief creative director of Jushi Holdings Inc., the company that owns Beyond / Hello. “They are not just bud tenders; the transaction is about the customer experience and literally goes beyond ‘Hello.’”
The store has been open just two weeks and opened more than a year after Santa Barbara’s first two dispensaries, Coastal and the Farmacy, opened up. Unlike the other two, Beyond / Hello is one of 11 dispensaries in the chain that first started on the East Coast. The new store on upper State Street is the company’s first California store and comes after a lengthy two-year permitting process.
“I’ve worked in the cannabis industry before, but nothing has compared to this job,” said Chelsea Sheridan, one of 10 sales consultants working in the store. “We are all cared for here. This is really about educating the customers and connecting with the community, not just getting them in and out as fast as possible to make the sale.”
And despite the fact the company isn’t local, Sheridan wasn’t wrong about the store’s commitment to the community. Every month, in fact, it is committed to donating to a new local cause. This month the dispensary will donate to the Cancer Foundation. They also plan to hold events, such as the beach cleanup they have planned for this weekend.
“Just driving up here from L.A. for the first time, you can immediately feel that Santa Barbara is different,” Neumann said. “I knew that we had to be respectful and get to know the community; we need to respect that this is the West Coast. Everything must unfold organically and not be forced.”
Part of this respect meant that the store opted to hire mostly local employees, including Sheridan, who already have a connection with the community. However, this isn’t the only step toward keeping the shop local-friendly.
As the creative director, Neumann has all kinds of ideas to connect with the Santa Barbara community better. He plans on using the store to hold roundtable discussions with the community on a variety of topics, including non-cannabis-related ones. He said he also envisions turning the store into an art exhibition and a way to collaborate with other local brands.
He explained that the artwork in the shop already is very important to him. Much of the work in the high-end store was painted by his good friend Jonah Cerwinske, who was struck with the inspiration to paint parts of the store the night before the store’s soft opening. Featuring more artwork in the store is a large part of Neumann’s vision to connect with the community.
All in all, the store is doing well in business over its first two weeks since opening.
“It’s only been a few weeks, and we already are already seeing regular, daily customers,” Sheridan said. “One of my favorite parts of this job is getting to know them and really be able to help them find their perfect product.”
Beyond / Hello (3516 State St.) operates seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, including medical patients, recreational, and adult-use customers. To learn more, click here.
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