New Standard's CEO Explains How The Brand Set Out To Define A Premium Cannabis Experience
Launching a retail brand in 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, is no simple feat. Add to that the challenge of fostering a storefront in an emerging industry, one without the benefit of decades of established precedent or market insight, and you might have some idea of the obstacles recreational and medical cannabis dispensary New Standard has overcome to establish itself as a premium cannabis retailer.
The Michigan-based dispensary opened its first retail location last spring in the Hazel Park suburb of Detroit. However, due to the dire health crisis gripping the region at the time, the storefront itself remained closed, offering its clients instead curbside and delivery options until they were able to implement and implement suitable health and safety standards to welcome customers into its art-deco inspired showroom.
Now, with several months under its belt, New Standard’s CEO Howard Luckoff sat down with Benzinga to discuss what went into establishing New Standard as a unique and uncompromising option for clientele coming from all walks of life and levels of cannabis expertise.
“From our first meetings with my co-founders, we have been guided by the principle that we wanted to create a new culture and standard for the cannabis industry in Michigan,” explained Luckoff. “No one had done what we’re doing, and cannabis was an emerging industry that we were able to bring our expertise and truly create something new.”
A Culture Of Expertise
From the very start, Luckoff and the New Standard executive team made a priority of establishing a strong ethos that would serve to guide every decision the company would make. According to Luckoff, this ethos would be defined by authenticity, accountability and an uncompromising commitment to the customer.
Said Luckoff, “Culture is everything for us. That culture is a part of the products we choose, our team members and our engagement with every customer.”
This dedication to culture runs through the entire executive team. In addition to Luckoff, who previously served as a general counsel for Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures LLC, New Standard’s executive leadership includes, former Founders Brewing COO Chase Kushak, Detroit retail entrepreneur Dajuan Holbrook and cannabis cultivator and product expert James Fisher.
“We have an experienced leadership team that understands Michigan, business, culture and how to truly grow an organization from the ground up,” explained Luckoff. “Each of our co-founders and leadership team brings a diverse background from their industry that allows them to shape the cannabis retail industry in the best ways possible here at New Standard.”
These individuals have helped to guide the launch of New Standard’s flagship location and foster partnerships with local national cannabis brands Highlife Farms, Dutchie, Cresco Labs Inc. (OTC:CRLBF) and Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTC:CURLF). Additionally, New Standard has made a point of cementing its reputation within the local community in and around the Metro Detroit area.
Defining A New Standard
At the root of this commitment to its culture, New Standard aims to recharacterize the image of cannabis and expand the perception of the cannabis consumer. Luckoff explained how the decisions that went into building New Standard’s first retail location centered on presenting a welcoming and transparent environment for whoever might decide to browse it wares.
“Our goal was to create a culture where the novice or the connoisseur could come in and feel comfortable. And, we’re seeing that every single day here at the Hazel Park location,” said Luckoff. “From the moment you step into the New Standard doors, or even visit our website, the cannabis experience feels different.”
However, the New Standard’s commitment to broadening the cannabis market extends beyond its customer base. Luckoff pointed to several of the business’s community-building initiatives that it launched in the towns and cities in which it has a footprint, including a community park project in Beaverton, MI, where its grow operation is headquartered and a relief fund aimed at supporting local businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Opening our first location during this pandemic, we knew we needed to do something to give back to the retail businesses surrounding our Hazel Park location that weren’t deemed essential and forced to close during the state mandate. We donated $10,000 to a Main Street fund that was matched by Oakland County and distributed to Hazel Park retail businesses owners to help them navigate through COVID,” said Luckoff.
These initiatives only represent the beginning stages of what New Standard has planned for its growth, both within the communities it has already established itself and throughout the Michigan cannabis industry. The company has also developed collaborations with several small businesses offering cross promotional opportunities for both customers and team members.
A Process Of Growth
In the near term, Luckoff sees New Standard’s flagship Hazel Park location forging stronger ties to its partner brands while fostering new partnerships in the rapidly developing Michigan cannabis landscape.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, and as the global pandemic comes under greater control, Luckoff is looking forward to introducing many new locations in the state, each of which will maintain New Standard’s core principles of providing premium-level service and expertise to its customers while also growing and developing to reflect the needs and character of the communities it serves.
“We see the culture of our organization growing as we add more expertise and product collaborations throughout each of our retail locations,” said Luckoff. “We are excited to bring this new standard in cannabis culture to more communities.”
New Standard Hazel Park is located at 24906 John R. Road in Hazel Park, Michigan. For more information or to place an order, visit www.anewstandard.com or call 248-873-0420.
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