California-born cannabis lifestyle brand and retailer Stiiizy is an authoritative retailer in its home state, opening its 32nd storefront in Oxnard, Ventura County, this summer. Stiiizy, known well for its cannabis, concentrates, vapes, and apparel lines, opened its flagship storefront in Downtown LA back in 2019. The brand recently cut the ribbon on a dispensary in Costa Mesa, California, this past Spring, catering to the underserved and hungry Orange County market. Stiiizy products can be found on shelves in California, Washington, Nevada, Michigan, Illinois, and Arizona.
The brand goes where it is called. Stiiizy has long held a significant following of consumers in Ventura County, placing its newest retail dispensary inside a busy and accessible commercial shopping center. The 2,880-square-foot dispensary sits at 2343 N. Oxnard Blvd, on the bustling corner of Vineyard and Oxnard Blvd. where an average of 80,000 cars pass by each day.
“Our strategy is also to obtain licenses through applying for them in competitive processes as cities open up to cannabis retail,” says Stiiizy President Tak Sato. “Many jurisdictions today, sadly, still don’t allow cannabis retail. This approach allows us to not have to spend capital on purchasing stores or licenses, and to be one of the first retail stores in a city that just opened its doors to cannabis retail.”
The new Stiiizy store’s spacious entryway leads consumers into a colorful, vibrant sales floor with wall of plants and colorful TV-sized images running along the top of the space. The walls are wrapped in floor-to-ceiling photography and artwork that depicts Stiiizy’s distinct flavor of cannabis culture and style. Welcoming and well-informed, the sales experience at Stiiizy is known for providing immersive, efficient in-store shopping.
Stiiizy places an emphasis on budtender training and community relations. Budtenders are the first salesperson a consumer meets in their journey, after all. Stiiizy highlights its local economy by creating jobs. The new Oxnard dispensary created 24 retail jobs with 85 percent of the workforce coming from Ventura County. The company’s STIIIZY Joint Efforts team is already planning ways to support surrounding organizations and reaching out with activation catered to local communities in need.
“We believe community matters at STIIIZY. That core belief is what brought us to Oxnard and what has helped build our brand over time,” said STIIIZY Director of Social Impact DeRon Waller. “We look forward to partnering local nonprofits and community impact leaders from Ventura County to drive impactful change, and to show people the positive impact of cannabis companies like ours. For us, giving back is just as important as growth.”
Stiiizy knows how to draw the crowds. At the dispensary, customers are offered a wide selection of premium Stiiizy products, as well as from curated brands, such as Alien Labs and Jeeter. To celebrate the grand opening, Stiiizy enticed consumers by offering 2,000 1/8ths of premium Stiiizy Black Exotics for $0.01, and giving away door prizes including a coveted gaming console.
“I’m so proud to be part of bringing STIIIZY’s unique brand of cannabis to Oxnard and Ventura County residents,” said Taitlin Roehl, general manager of STIIIZY Oxnard. “The experience of building a powerhouse retail team, hiring from the area and training our budtenders, who are just as passionate about the plant and helping others as I am, is a dream come true. Customers can expect a culture of excellence and authenticity. We aim to make a lasting impact on the success of Stiiizy and our customers. Oxnard has been waiting for this location to open and that day is finally here!”
We sat down with Tak Sato, President at Stiiizy, to learn more about the ‘secret sauce’ driving Stiiizy’s expansion.
At HOF, we are blown away by the retail footprint that Stiiizy has amassed in California. Tell me about the strategy: how many years in the making has it been to reach this many consumers?
Tak Sato: We initially started with one retail store, our flagship DTLA store, which we opened in August 2019. We’ve opened 31 more since then and plan to consistently open more every year. Our strategy has been to open stores where we believe our brand and our products will resonate most with the community. Even though we’re very popular all throughout California, there are certain cities and areas where we have an especially strong fanbase.
We love Stiiizy as a vape, flower, and concentrates product. Your retail arm came after the products. Do you suggest vertical integration for cannabis brands and retailers?
TS: Vertical integration has worked well for us as the brand, our products, and our retail stores kind of feed off each other. The popularity of our STIIIZY vape products, STIIIZY flower and other products drive customers to our STIIIZY retail stores. By contrast, our STIIIZY retail stores provide customers with exposure to our STIIIZY products. This has created a strong synergy between our customers and our brand. I think we’ve been unique in being successful in vertical integration, because of the operational expertise we have in cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail. I wouldn’t suggest vertical integration to others unless they also have operational expertise in all of the verticals.
Tell me about hiring locally, or highlighting the local communities, towns, and economies of your stores? Do you aim to really speak to each city?
TS: Hiring locally is very important to us and we typically aim to hire at least 50% of our employees from within the city where we operate. This goes back to providing economic opportunities to the citizens of the city where we have the honor of opening a store in, as our company pays living wages. It also helps us from a business perspective since customers want to shop where their friends work or where they see familiar faces behind the retail counters. We’re also heavily involved in community giving and volunteering through STIIIZY Joint Efforts in every city where we operate. Our local employees also help us identify the biggest needs of their respective cities, so that we can make the most impact with our community giving.
What advice do you have for other retailers who look up to your brand and retail model? One piece of advice, distilled, for the younger brands out there who admire Stiiizy?
TS: Retail is honestly tough due to the overhead, taxes, and competition with the illicit market. But, it’s also a great way for brands like ours to be able to interact with customers and hear directly from them the types of products and experiences they’re looking for. You can’t get that type of direct input from your consumers without your own retail store in the cannabis industry. Having the STIIIZY name on our storefronts also definitely makes things easier for us, since consumers are looking to shop at stores they trust and recognize. To be able to provide that as a company and brand is rare right now in this still-emerging industry.