Merced County Times Newspaper
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Berner’s dispensary changing way locals buy cannabis


In a bold departure from industry norms, Berner’s Cannabis Dispensary in downtown Merced is making some big changes for customers.

For those who may be unfamiliar with what goes on inside a dispensary, the act of buying cannabis products can be a remarkably hands-off shopping experience. The product likely only touching your hands with staff assistance, or (more likely) after it’s paid for.

This leaves many people limited to playing 21 questions with their “bud-tenders,” reading through seemingly endless lists with limited descriptions, or just rolling the dice with their selections.

As a way to combat these issues as well as hopefully help shift the stigma behind shopping for cannabis, Berners has overhauled its displays and relationship with its customers.

Instead of all the products being locked behind glass and vaults, they now have open display cases —something akin to what you would see in a grocery store.

Open shelves, racks, baskets and accessible refrigerators allow the customer to freely explore the store’s many offerings at their own pace.

“Were letting adults be adults,” said Joel Rodriguez, the dispensary’s manager.

He went on to explain the many benefits of these changes. Describing how it can offer people, especially those who are new to buying cannabis products, extra comfort and flexibility while browsing. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it allows regular customers to quickly grab what they need and check out. While these changes have been implemented for just over a month, the overall average reaction from customers is incredibly positive, Rodriguez says. Even better, the staff is also adjusting to the changes really well, in fact, they appear to be enjoying it.

“It just makes everything a lot smoother,” said employee Rachel Fraguglia. “It really shows everything that we have as a company. Customers have been really enjoying it. They feel a lot more included in the shopping experience.”

When asked if he has a message for the community, Rodriguez has this to say: “We would love for anyone that wants to learn more about cannabis, or has any questions or concerns, to feel free to come down to the neighborhood and check us out.”

Berner’s is located at 811 W. Main Street in downtown Merced. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call (209) 325-4906.

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