Dry January might be trending, but let’s be honest – ditching the dopamine-boosting buzz of alcohol can leave you feeling a little blue. Staying clear from alcohol has some consumers turning toward cannabis, and Mello has a wide variety to choose from in its quaint dispensary.
Making its grand debut in November 2021, Mello is an adult-use dispensary located in Haverhill, MA. They offer a wide selection of flower, concentrates, pre-rolls, edibles, vapes, tinctures, topicals and cannabis accessories to suit everyone’s needs.
An Upward Climb
“The founders have been working on Mello since 2018, so it was a three-year process building everything out, finding the perfect location, finding investors and partners we trust and getting everything ready to go,” says Derrell Black, Mello’s store manager. “I came in May of 2021 and helped to build the team. We had a lot to figure out, but we’ve been rolling ever since.”
When Black first started, there were just two employees at Mello. He had a lot of say when it came to building out their team and facility, such as whether the budtenders should take the product straight from the back as well as how the dispensary should operate.
Now, Mello is seeing record sales and showing promising growth. “We saw record sales in 2023 and are very proud of this. It was a good year for us. We almost doubled our revenue from 2022, and it’s all due in part to my team — making sure we offer great customer service, deals and products. Our marketing team is also great for getting our brand name out there,” Black comments.
On top of having good customer service skills and a knowledgeable marketing team, another reason Mello continues to grow is because of their special product deals.
“We have a special deal on Tuesdays called ‘10 for 40’ where customers can get 10 one gram pre-rolls for $40,” Black explains. “People love it and our Tuesdays are really poppin’. We usually do these deals with vendors we have partnerships with or with our own brands and strains.”
Pre-Rolls Rein Supreme
Within the last six months, Black has noticed consumers gravitating more towards pre-rolls. The fact that they are ready-to-smoke while still being a flower product is a likely reason why they are so popular.
Mello isn’t the only dispensary noticing an uptick in pre-roll sales. Research from Custom Cones USA and Headset found that pre-rolls are the fastest-growing product segment in the industry, growing 12% year-over-year (YoY) in the United States and 38% YoY in Canada.
More specifically, in 2023 infused pre-rolls have become the largest pre-roll segment, generating nearly 60 million dollars in monthly sales, the research states.
Mello Budtenders Know Their Stuff
The Haverhill dispensary has consumers looking for all different experiences from their cannabis. While some shoppers are searching for ways to relax, others may be on the hunt for ways to focus, so Black ensures that all Mello budtenders are having conversations with customers to help them find just what they are looking for.
“With our product knowledge, we know what could be good for them and offer different suggestions — and we almost nail it on the head every time,” Black says. “We’re not perfect, but we do offer 10/10 customer service.”
Black has years of hospitality service under his belt. Working as a supervisor at a five star hotel, he knows what it takes to offer a high level of customer service. “We make sure everyone is welcome. Not just our typical demographic, but all demographics, as well,” he says.
Giving Back to the Local Community
According to Black, one of Mello’s main focuses is to get involved and give back to the local community. The dispensary helps out nonprofits and shelters all around the area, donating $5,000 to adults and kids every other month to make sure they can afford the necessities.
“We also do a winter coat drive every winter from November to January just to get as many coats for the youth so this way we can all be warm throughout the winter,” says Black. “We also help out with educational projects at Northern Essex Community College. We have been steadfast in helping with their upcoming cannabis curriculum.”
Mello Stands Out Against the Competition
Having great customer service, special product deals and a taste for community service doesn’t mean that Mello immediately wins over every customer. The competition is still pretty high, especially in the competitive cannabis industry. Adult-use marijuana has been legal in MA since 2016, giving business owners plenty of time to open up their own locations.
Black notes that Mellow was the fourth and last dispensary to open in the immediate area, so they have been at a disadvantage from the start.
“Everybody here has about an 18 months head start on us, so it’s been an uphill battle from the beginning,” explains Black. “We had to take hold on the marketing side, putting up billboards on the way to the store as well as doing things for our community.”
Another marketing technique that the dispensary uses is always making its presence known on social media. The Mello marketing team is constantly posting on each platform, sometimes even highlighting different employees to promote a family vibe.
For Black, his personal favorite marketing technique is to get his “boots to the ground.” He constantly promotes Mello by networking at conferences and conventions that take place throughout the year. “Being able to get real personable people to go to these tours is very important, so that’s how we do it at Mello,” he says.
Mello Continues to Educate
The Haverhill dispensary has plans to improve its aroma profile this year, which Black expects will be something new and refreshing for the whole industry.
“We want to be able to educate our patrons as much as possible and give them a different way of smoking and consuming cannabis,” he says. “So we are trying a more scientific approach to things. Instead of focusing on THC percentage, we want to offer customers different aroma profiles as well as explain the reasons why their body might be more elevated and susceptible to certain strains.”
This new aroma profile will give customers the option of smelling their cannabis before buying it. If they like the way it smells and gets their taste buds going, then it could be a good strain for them.
The dispensary has an entire section on their website dedicated to different aroma profiles, offering snippets of information on where the smells come from, how they can impact users when consumed and more. Products are featured next to each aroma profile for customers to easily find and purchase.
“We want a more knowledgeable approach to cannabis than just going for the THC percentage in a strain. We have to find different ways of consuming cannabis, and Mello is trying to do that,” Black says.