Destination Dispensary: A ‘New Standard’ Debuts In Metro Detroit

Destination Dispensary celebrates cannabis retail’s highest design concepts across North America. Each aesthetically elevated store featured has redefined and set a new standard for the cannabis shopping experience in the post-legalization era.

As Michigan became the first state in the Midwest (and the 10th in the U.S.) to allow adult-use marijuana sales in 2019, a group of Detroit business and community leaders united to form New Standard, an all-encompassing cannabis startup focused on the customer experience across the Wolverine State. 

With plans for a spring debut of its flagship dispensary, or what New Standard describes as a “provisioning center,” the team was still able to pull it off amid coronavirus, opening on April 3 with curbside-only operations. 

Two months later, New Standard is finally able to welcome both medical cannabis patients and recreational customers into its sleek store in Hazel Park, a suburb just north of downtown Detroit. The New Standard Farm is located even further north, where the company cultivates organic cannabis flower that will supply a total of nine New Standard stores throughout the state by 2021.

Co-founded by Howard Luckoff and James Fisher along with several other Detroit executives, the brand was heavily inspired by the homegrown luxury lifestyle brand, Shinola, where Luckoff sat on the board of directors; he also previously served as general council for Bedrock Detroit, praised for its work restoring historic buildings throughout downtown.

With life seemingly starting to get back to normal this summer, the New Standard team took me on a (virtual) tour of the highly-curated space, dreamt up in collaboration with the Detroit-based interiors firm Pink + Wooderson, which is sure to set a new standard for dispensary design and cannabis culture in Michigan.

“New Standard is the first dispensary in Michigan to be a welcoming, comfortable, inclusive destination that anyone curious about cannabis can approach. Everything about our store has been strategically designed to make our guests feel at ease. Our vision is to provide a retail experience with the feel of a Shinola or Starbucks — one that is comfortable and consistent in terms of culture, customer experience and product offerings.” —Howard Luckoff, CEO and co-founder, New Standard

“New Standard’s culture of approachability and design is at the forefront of every decision we make. Much of which was inspired by Howard’s time spent on the board of directors with the Shinola brand, where great culture, excellent customer service and a comfortable environment are a part of the retail experience. New Standard’s design welcomes guests to interact and learn from our budtenders about the versatility of cannabis. We hired a ‘director of culture’ to monitor and guide our way forward from day one. It is important that everyone who works here embraces our values of honesty and transparency to ensure that our culture permeates throughout New Standard. Anyone can enjoy cannabis, and we’re here to guide them on that journey.” —Chase Kushak, COO, New Standard

“New Standard is committed to our team members, budtenders, and the community. After cannabis was deemed an essential business in Michigan, we chose to open the first of many planned dispensaries during the current global health crisis because we felt strongly that we could provide a unique product to the community while creating more than 36 jobs in Michigan at a time when the state was experiencing an unprecedented unemployment. A portion of all proceeds during the state’s stay-at-home mandate was donated back to the city to help support retail businesses forced to close. We’re also working with the local community on a park donation project. A critical component is a permanent endowment, which will provide funding for park maintenance for every park donation in every city we open a store.” —Howard Luckoff, CEO and co-founder, New Standard

“Health and wellness is an important focus of how we grow and dispense cannabis. New Standard sees healthy plants, healthy people and a healthy planet all as vital and interconnected. Our farm, where we cultivate thousands of pounds of cannabis annually, is partially inspired by the farm-to-table food movement, which requires more work to be done by a larger number of people using more natural processes. At the New Standard Farm, we strive to grow cannabis in its most natural state without hidden or unnatural treatments so we lean into oils, enzymes and insect management to achieve cleaner cannabis.” —James Fisher, co-founder and VP of cultivation, New Standard

“Mainstream cannabis usage has evolved into a curated event enjoyed by a diverse selection of individuals with products for every occasion. Our team saw a need for a high-end (pun intended!) dispensary that catered to every cannabis user; the connoisseur and the newcomer can stand side-by-side and comfortably co-exist to experience a wide cross-selection of New Standard products. Every aspect of our design speaks to our desire to bring people from all lifestyles to New Standard for their cannabis.” —Howard Luckoff, CEO and co-founder, New Standard

“Pink + Wooderson understood both the early stages of the cannabis industry in Michigan and the need to make the cannabis experience more accessible by educating many of our newer cannabis users. Cannabis today is not marijuana of the 1970s. Dark, clean, industrial lines are accented by soft, bright accessories, which could be mistaken for an up-level boutique if it weren’t for our pristine displays of cannabis. In our flagship location, we utilized every inch of space to connect with consumers. Even less-travelled back hallways were considered. The light tones of the walls and flooring are enhanced by bright LED lights in order to create a stimulating effect much like the experience of a perfectly curated cannabis strain. We’ve also incorporated lobby and outdoor spaces for guests to gather and relax. It is not what you’d expect.” —James Fisher, co-founder and VP of cultivation, New Standard

“We’re passionate about cannabis. We are bringing the highest-quality products to our consumers in the most advanced and convenient ways. In the coming months our consumers will be able to utilize a custom mobile app designed for frictionless ordering and delivery. This is the next phase of cannabis use. New Standard wants to streamline the experience of buying, and create a new culture of cannabis user.” —Chase Kushak, COO, New Standard

“We spent years designing and researching the best ways to grow and dispense cannabis. On any given day, you will see me at the dispensary, engaging with guests to ensure they’ve had the best possible experience. I want them to tell me the good, the bad and the ugly … especially the bad and the ugly …which doesn’t happen often. But if it does, we want to address it in real time in order to continually make our processes better. That inquisitiveness is what allowed us to blend the relaxation of cannabis with a very defined and dramatic space to create New Standard. We are doing amazing things in cannabis. I want us to evolve and get better every day.” — Howard Luckoff, CEO and co-founder, New Standard

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