Ohio medical marijuana patients have observed that experiences vary widely when it comes to their dispensary options. Ohio-owned dispensary Strawberry Fields Columbus is one that offers benefits you won’t find elsewhere.
Background on Strawberry Fields Columbus
Strawberry Fields earned their dispensary license under CannAscend of Ohio, owned by Jimmy Gould of Cincinnati who notably led Ohio’s 2015 legalization measure attempt. Four other Strawberry Fields locations in Ohio were transferred in June 2021 to Columbia Care LLC, then acquired by Cresco Labs in 2022. The Columbus location of Strawberry Fields operates separately and isn’t up for any transfer of ownership.
Nikki Chercourt, Dispensary Manager for Strawberry Fields, talked with MedicateOH about some of the changes that the dispensary has implemented this year. And how Ohio patients and the community can benefit.
Setting the Tone at Strawberry Fields Columbus with Patient-Centered Care
Calling upon her previous experience working in another dispensary, Chercourt sought to foster a patient-centered tone at Strawberry Fields. “My goal is always when you walk in the door, you don’t feel intimidated. Because dispensaries can be very intimidating. Especially if you’re new to cannabis in general. So I try to create a really comforting atmosphere as soon as you walk in the door.”
Chercourt cites having her staff on board with having that same mindset of making patients feel welcomed. Staff (“budtenders”) will instruct patients on what to expect from beginning to end. On the sales floor, staff explains the whole process of registering as a new patient, selecting their medicine, and giving any further advice. “Just making the patient feel comfortable is our ultimate goal.”
Veteran and Indigent Discounts at Strawberry Fields Columbus
Chercourt noted that Strawberry Fields Columbus increased their veteran and indigent discounts to 30 percent earlier this summer. By increasing these discounts, it offered an opportunity to offer more discounts to the general medical marijuana patient population. “I’m actually a veteran myself,” says Chercourt. “So it’s nice to be able to have that discount. I wish we could offer that to everybody but that’s why we made [the indigent and veterans’ discounts] a little larger, so that we can make the daily discounts for patients who don’t have that be a little larger too. Because it’s a struggle out there for everybody.”
Additionally, sales that every patient can take advantage of occur on Mondays. “We do 20 percent off our entire store on Mondays and then every other day, we have a minimum 25 percent off [of a selected processor or cultivator].”
Spendr App Offers Mobile Payments for Patients
Spendr, a mobile payments and rewards app, launched at Strawberry Fields early in 2022.
Chercourt said the payment system has been a hit with patients and a debit solution for the dispensary. “It’s actually been so beneficial for us because we don’t offer debit right now. So this is kind of like our debit program. Patients have really loved it and we just actually got an upgrade on Spendr. There was an issue with patients who couldn’t link bank accounts because their bank wasn’t part of it. So now we have like 95 percent of banks who are on board.”
Chercourt notes how easy Spendr has been for patients to use. “Once you get through the process of downloading the app and linking your bank account, patients are very quickly in and out. You don’t have to worry about the ATM fees. You don’t have to worry about the debit fee. Which is huge, especially when you’re already spending up to a couple hundred dollars on your medication.”
As a dispensary manager, Chercourt noted that Spendr allows budtenders to see more patients in a given day due to the time it saves in checkout. “It probably shaves off at least two minutes, which is huge when you’re trying to see hundreds of patients. So the feedback has been great. And we’re just constantly trying to get more people to get on board with it. Probably one of the best programs I’ve seen in Ohio yet.”
Menu, Online Ordering Through I Heart Jane Easy to Navigate
Strawberry Fields Columbus makes use of the I Heart Jane menu platform. “I Heart Jane is pretty much the biggest online platform that’s used in Ohio for online ordering. It’s actually really user friendly. It shows our daily discounts on the top. You can add if there’s any information like you’re closing early, if you’re closed on a certain day. You can have little things like that on the top bar so patients can read that before they start ordering. We put news on there about the dispensary and any discounts we have.”
What Keeps Patients Coming Back to Strawberry Fields Columbus?
From reading reviews and from talking to patients, Chercourt believes how their staff treats patient patrons keeps them coming back. “I’ve been to a lot of dispensaries and I just, you know, they don’t take the time to really act like they care. It’s more like in and out, you know, they just try to force you out. And that’s just not a good feeling.”
“We do care about making sure that patients understand their medication before they leave the dispensary. We really try to educate them on the terpenes and cannabinoids. Microdosing is a really big thing that I feel like people miss, so we really try to educate them on that.”
With only a handful of choices in the Columbus area, patients often report traveling up to 30 minutes to get to a dispensary. Chercourt hopes the discounts that Strawberry Fields Columbus offers make it worthwhile for patients to make that trip. When it comes to wait times, Chercourt says, “Twenty minutes is the maximum people usually have to wait even on our busy days, which is low compared to what I have seen.”
“My staff is super friendly. Our facilities are very nice and clean. I think all those things are reasons that people keep coming back. I really pride myself on hiring people who actually care and don’t just want to sell weed. They care about the people who walk through the doors and want to help them achieve a better quality of life.”
Strawberry Fields Columbus New Hours
Strawberry Fields Columbus has recently changed their hours as well. “We are now 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday, and then Sunday remains 11 to 5,” Chercourt notes. “We do lock our doors at 6:30 p.m. [and 4:30 p.m. on Sundays] to give us time to get through all the patients for the last half hour.” She explained that it’s difficult to turn patients away, but the state has set forth strict guidelines about not taking any patients beyond the posted hours for the day.
Patient Education Days and Giving Back to the Community
On some weekdays, Strawberry Fields Columbus holds up to two Patient Education Days. On these days, Ohio cannabis companies set up a table in the dispensary so that patients can talk with the makers of their medicines. Patient Education Days typically coincide with a discount on that company’s products that day.
Additionally, Strawberry Fields staff participates in a wide variety of community efforts. Recently they participated in a civic association Community Clean Up in the Bexley neighborhood. And each month, the dispensary chooses and collects donations for a charity.
In September, MedicateOH will be the designated charity for Strawberry Fields Columbus. Patients can donate any day during the month. Our team will be onsite on September 2nd and September 30th in the dispensary lobby to talk about the work we do to help educate medical marijuana patients in Ohio.
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