Budtender Danny Brown exudes joy when he talks about cannabis, as exemplified by the big grin on his face and the glimmer in his eye as he offers up cannabis stories and anecdotes. From a self-professed “skater kid who smoked” to cannabis professional, Brown credits providing genuine and trusted customer-centric experiences as his “secret sauce” and the key to customer engagement.
From Saskatchewan with Love
Possessing legacy market experience and having budtended on Legalization Day in Saskatchewan, Brown is where he wants to be and doing what he loves. “The line-up was massive and to no one’s surprise we sold out of cannabis and all inventory within the first 36 hours of legalization,” he gleefully recounts.
Moving to Calgary specifically to assume his role as Regional Store Manager, overseeing both Douglasdale Cannabis and Bridlewood Cannabis, Brown has worn many hats across numerous progressive roles. Having worked in multiple stores, including a store acquired by an industry-leading retail chain, Brown developed his management approach, fostered his mantra, and embraced his personal style. “I’m not a corporate guy,” he notes. “I believe in honesty and doing good business. It’s all about the basics and treating your people right.”
Brown is proud that the team tests every product that makes it onto the menu and has an authentic belief in the products they sell. “The menu is an area where we put a lot of thought. It’s organized to be easy and approachable for customers while being backed by products that we believe in.”
“As a policy, I offer my staff all products at cost, so that they can test and truly experience as many products as possible. Investing into your staff is investing into your customer,” he states.
“Your staff needs to be knowledgeable and confident in the information and perspectives they share with customers.”
While extolling the virtues of craft cannabis and supporting local licensed producers, Brown believes in anchoring the menu with quality products while also tailoring the assortment to the local community. Brown and the team are engaging in open dialogue and educating customers on the many and varied features and effects of cannabis.
“Too many consumers are obsessed with THC percentage and overlook the overall product quality. This also contributes to potential overconsumption or other common pitfalls.”
He advises customers to learn about new products and to evaluate products based on their look, feel, taste, and effects. “While I understand the reasoning, it is a really big, missed opportunity that we cannot allow the customer to see, smell, or touch cannabis in-store. Cannabis is a real tactile experience.”
Keep it Simple
Authenticity and doing good business are recurring themes with Brown. He says, “Having conversations and building trusted relationships with your customers is key. Whether it is a clogged vape cartridge or a product issue, we are always here to help and solve problems for our customers.” Fostering this customer-first mentality and creating a sense of family, Brown has developed his formula for success.
Brown isn’t going to be done with the cannabis industry anytime soon. With aspirations of opening more stores in Alberta, he continues to take on new challenges and sees an opportunity for strong retailers who do things differently and embody the customer-centric approach.
“My goal is to grow my team, and to be able to spend more time training them, talking shop, and sharing best practices,” Brown states.
Informed by the wisdom and words of a cannabis trailblazer, always remember, you need to “pick it, pack it, fire it up, and come along.”