In December 2022, Explore Maryland Cannabis introduced their nominations with over twenty awards in four main categories: People, Company, Industry, and Products. These awards are a way to honor the best in the local cannabis Industry. The Ritual dispensary, located in Curtis Bay, Maryland, took home the top honor for best dispensary. As one of our dispensary partners, we were curious to learn more about Ritual's secret sauce. Georgia Asmar, our field marketing events manager, reached out to their Marketing Manager Krystal Burgess to learn more about their business.
What is your name?
Hello! My name is Krystal Burgess. I’m the Marketing Manager at Ritual dispensary in Curtis Bay.
Great connecting with you, Krystal! Have you always been in a marketing position at Ritual, or did you start off as a budtender?
No, I did not start off as budtender. Previously I worked in the Sports Marketing industry and during the COVID shutdown, I began to think about what was next now that events were put on hold. I thought about what else I was passionate about and that was cannabis. Cannabis has helped me medically in my everyday life. I wanted to work to destigmatizing the plant and participate in helping build the cannabis industry here in Maryland.
Where are you from?
Prince George's County.
You’re a MD native, nice! How long has your dispensary been open and how did you obtain your license?
Ritual has been open three years this March 2023. The license process took a little over three years to obtain.
That's amazing! Have you been with Ritual since the start? If not, where did you start your cannabis career?
I came on at Ritual after their first year in operation. This my first cannabis job, but I’ve been a medical patient and have five years experience in marketing.
How has the pandemic changed the way you operate your dispensary?
We opened during the pandemic so post pandemic life is all we know.
That must be somewhat of an advantage, not having to switch from your operations strategies to conform to covid. Did you see an increase in traffic when covid restrictions loosened, or were they the same?
If there was any advantage, it was being able to perfect our curbside service and training up our PCA's in a slower pace environment when we first opened. The disadvantage was not being able to have a grand opening event. There was defiantly an increase in traffic after covid restrictions were lifted.
Opening a dispensary during the pandemic is definitely a huge accomplishment. On that note, what type of product selection do you offer for your patients?
We offer a wide variety of flower, vapes, concentrates, pre-rolls, topicals, and more from the top growers in Maryland.
Of those products, what are some of the best CULTA products that sell?
Dosidos #22-22 and Poochie Love are the top strains that sell, and we can't keep the CULTA vape carts on the shelves.
Those are two of my favorite strains, though complete opposites in my opinion! What are Ritual's favorite products to see from CULTA in three forms: flower, concentrates and vapes?
For flower, that would be Dosidos #22-22 and Poochie Love. Regarding concentrates, DoCo Boi Live Resin Badder, Caramel Apple Gelato x Cherry Stout Live Resin Badder. And for vapes, it is Lemon Berry Tart and Sour Diesel.
Sounds like you have a wide range of CULTA products for all types of medical patients. Speaking of, how do you curate a cannabis experience for your patients?
Curating the cannabis experience begins the night before with tailored deals sent via email and text to patients based on their favorite products. We strive to provide a five-star experience from the start to finish with outstanding promos, in-store giveaways, and special events.
Do your patients gravitate towards a certain product, for example, is there a higher demand for flower or concentrates in your shop?
Our patients gravitate towards flower the most, which is why we strive to keep 100 strains on deck. Vapes are coming in a strong second.
Are your patients chasing terpenes or high THC percentages?
Our patients chase terpenes. When they walk in the store the first thing they say is "give me the product with the highest (whatever terp they are looking for)." Our PCA's do a great job educating our patients on how different terps have an effect on you.
PCA’s play a crucial role in patient product selection. Do PCA’s know their patient’s favorite products from sales the day before?
The personal touch from our budtenders is one of the top qualities our patients rave about. Our PCA's know you by name, know what you're there to buy, know new products you may like, and are top notch at recommending replacement products when we've sold out of something you wanted, all based on your transaction history.
How do you leverage technology for your patient shopping experience?
We use sales analytics from our POS system and online ordering platforms to identify which products our patients love the most to curate our daily deals. We also use the purchasing habits of our patients to decide which products and deals to highlight on the dispensary TV's using Weedmaps Screens.
Do you offer deals and promos every day to get patients into the store? What about new patients, do you do anything special for them?
We offer daily deals to our patients and 20% off to new patients.
On a given day, how many patients do you see?
We see about 190 patients daily.
That is incredible! Do you usually have people come in on a rolling basis, or are there specific times throughout the day that you see surges in patients? How do you keep up with the flow when it gets too busy?
Patients are rolling in all day, but we usually see 2-hour busy spurts in the morning, afternoon, and again in the evening. To keep up with the demand our GM makes sure we are fully staffed daily according to our busy hours. Our PCA's are trained to operate expediently as possible, while still making each patient feel like they are the priority. They are a gifted bunch LOL!
Switching gears, how do you plan to prepare for rec in a medical market?
In order to prepare for the recreational market we first need to under what that means for Maryland market in terms of roll out dates, patients sales/access, marketing, and consumption. We are really excited to see what the change means for patient events.
Will you be prepared to go rec in July if they stick to that date? Do you plan on expanding or are you waiting for all regulations to be posted first?
We will be prepared but like everyone else we are waiting to see what that means.
Sounds like Ritual is very well versed in all things medical cannabis. Thank you for your time, Krystal! I enjoyed talking with you!
Thank you, Georgia! I enjoyed the interview!