Based in Toronto, Superette was founded in 2019 by entrepreneurs Mimi Lam and Drummond Munro. The company now operates six brick-and-mortar shops in Canada and plans to open locations in the United States next year.
Aiming to make "buying cannabis as enjoyable as consuming it", the company has prioritised creating products and retail environments that have a nostalgic feel. Bodegas, pharmacies and hardware stores are among the influences.
The retailer's latest shop is located at Stackt Market, a shopping complex made of shipping containers in downtown Toronto. Billed as the company's first "SuperMarket", the new 800-square-metre space has a look that mimics a classic grocery store.
It was designed by an in-house team in collaboration with British Columbia's Emily Robin Design.
"SuperMarket follows the blueprint of a quintessential neighbourhood grocery store, from the interior design and customer flow to merchandising and product assortment," the team said.
Wide, glazed doors lead into an entryway stocked with plastic shopping baskets. A tall partition separates the front vestibule from the rest of the store – a legal requirement for a marijuana dispensary.
The shop is awash in vibrant colours and graphic elements with a pop art aesthetic. Underfoot is a red-and-white, vinyl checkerboard floor.
Merchandise is displayed on simple shelves that one might find in a convenience store. In the centre of the space is a U-shaped checkout counter, and in the rear is a row of vintage refrigerators.
In a faux-produce section, products are mixed in with novelty fruit. The store also features a rocket-shaped gumball machine and a Wheel of Fortune-style Super Spin game.
Rather than offering a menu like in many cannabis stores, the shop encourages customers to browse around.
"There is no menu at SuperMarket," the team said. "Instead, customers shop with their eyes as they would in a traditional supermarket, with guidance from a budtender should they need it."
All types of cannabis products are sold at the shop, including flowers, pre-rolls, vapes and edibles. The store also offers apparel and accessories, such as hats, stash jars, pipes and grinders.
Merchandise is displayed alongside custom props – like Super O's and Tomato Soup – that are playful takes on household staples like boxed cereal and canned soup.
The company wants to demonstrate how cannabis can be sold as an everyday product.
"Superette's whole retail vision is about applying traditional retail principles to cannabis retail – where it's not being done – and merchandising cannabis like you would any other consumer packaged goods," the team said.
Dispensaries have been popping up in Toronto ever since Canada legalised marijuana for recreational use in 2018. Others include a shop by StudioAC that features displays made of industrial grating and a store by Paolo Ferrari that has mirrored ceilings and sniff jars connected to digital display screens.
The photography is by Alex Lysakowski.