The newest retail outpost of Canadian cannabis purveyor Superette, which opened earlier this month in Ottawa’s trendy Glebe neighborhood, is one that’s likely to leave shoppers in a state of giddy euphoria—regardless of if they’ve already partaken in the store’s core product line or not.
Located on bustling Bank Street, Superette’s 1,500-square-foot Glebe retail store is an unabashedly kitschy homage to nostalgia-inducing retail and entertainment environments of yesteryear, including Woolworth-style lunch counters, arcades, automats, and corner candy stores. Superette, which takes its name from the French word for mini-mart, refers to its latest location as an “immersive experience that is part diner, part fairground funhaus, part cannabis store.”
Featuring a funhouse mirror-lined passage hidden behind a door fabricated from an old soda vending machine, the world’s largest physical cannabis menu, and an arcade-style claw machine game in which “rare paraphernalia” is among the most coveted prizes, the description is more than apt.
The store’s jubilant, candy-coated atmospherics are meant to serve as an antithesis to the sleek, often clinical interiors embraced by some cannabis retailers; spaces where customers typically aren’t compelled to linger. At Superette’s maximalist dispensaries, customers will likely to want to still around and soak in the wacky, throwback-y vibes and fun-loving design. (For those unsure of what line of business the store is in upon entering, an ID checkpoint should clear that up.)
At the Glebe outpost, the front of the store is a diner-slash-corner store-inspired space featuring a variety of (non-cannabis) merchandise and a red tile-clad design scheme described by Superette as an “homage to 1950s Americana and a cheeky nod to capitalist consumerism with a contemporary twist.” After the requisite ID check, shoppers move through a “dream tunnel,” where: “photoreal illustration seamlessly wraps the curves of the tunnel’s ceiling with soft, glowing clouds that feel fluffy enough to touch while three fairground-style funhouse mirrors distort your reality as you move through the tunnel, compressing your sense of height and space, shifting perspective and invoking childlike memories of funfairs and mirror mazes.”
At the end of the tunnel (and strategically out of view from the front windows) is the main cannabis sales floor, a space reminiscent of an old-fashioned soda shop that features high ceilings, Superette’s signature white tile and red grout, a colorful “flower wall,” and stools for perching to study the massive menu board.
While the marquee-style menu board showcases the store’s featured offerings du jour—pre-rolled joints, edibles, vape cartridges, and flower—there’s also a bevy of other merchandise for sale: pop bottle-styled bongs, high-design ashtrays, scented candles, checkerboard rolling papers, branded lighters, a range of gender-neutral streetwear, fashion accessories, and more. Elements unique to the Glebe store include neighborhood-celebrating t-shirts for sale and a “poutine phone” that connects directly to local street food joint Banditos.
“Superette was borne out of the belief that buying cannabis should be fun, and each time we expand our brand’s retail footprint we use it as an opportunity to try something different,” explained co-founder and CEO Mimi Lam. “For Glebe, it’s the evolution of our first shop in Wellington West, the doors that showed the world what a cannabis retail experience should be. We’ve been quite bold in our creative expression and I’m excited to push the envelope continuously in every store. The Glebe neighborhood is a dynamic intersection of retail, lifestyle, and events, so the vibe had to match. Our brand has broadened quite a bit over the last couple of years, and I am so stoked for Canada’s capital to experience this evolution.”
(Not surprisingly, Lam and Drummond Munro, Superette’s co-founder and chief brand officer, come from fashion retail backgrounds and have previously worked with Lulu Lemon, Kit and Ace, Herschel Supply Co., and other brands with strong visual identities.)
Superette’s newly opened Glebe store is the second Ottawa location for the brand, and the fourth overall, with two others in Toronto. Five additional stores are currently underway.