Destination Dispensary celebrates cannabis retail’s highest design concepts across North America. Each aesthetically elevated store featured has redefined and set a new standard for the cannabis shopping experience in the post-legalization era.
In rural Ridgway, Colorado, what was once a dressage riding arena on a 230-acre equestrian ranch transformed into a 30,000-square-foot indoor cannabis cultivation in 2019. Two years later and a few hours north, Dalwhinnie Farms debuted a retail extension — a fancy, flagship boutique in Aspen.
Dalwhinnie Farms is deliberately extravagant. It’s why the family-owned company chose Aspen over nearby Telluride. Known as one of America’s most affluent Zip codes, and notoriously as “Fat City,” Aspen is obviously opulent—from Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada lining quaint streets to five-star hotels welcoming worldly tourists to titans residing on “billionaire mountain.” Despite this reputation, the ski town can also be refreshingly down-to-earth with a tight-knit community of year-round residents and rich history from its late-1800’s beginning as a bustling silver mining hub.
“Our roots are very much in Colorado, and few towns are more Colorado than Aspen. You can be luxe without being snooty, and that’s part of the ethos that inspires the Dalwhinnie Farms brand,” shared Dalwhinnie Farms CEO Terrance Mendez. “We grow and sell premiere flower, absolutely, but we also have a lot of fun while doing so. We also felt that Aspen needed a cannabis boutique that fit alongside iconic businesses like the Hotel Jerome, The St. Regis or The Little Nell. We designed the store to be unlike any other cannabis dispensary on Earth.”
As the eighth (yes, eighth) cannabis dispensary in Aspen’s small downtown core, Dalwhinnie Farms stands apart from mostly basement-dwelling, green cross-stamped competitors with a grand, ground-level storefront, which originally opened its doors last fall. Inside, a team of “Cannasseurs” (a welcome departure from “budtenders”) takes guests through a menu of “connoisseur-grade cannabis” and other products from leading Colorado brands like Coda Signature, Binske, 1906 and Ripple by Stillwater Brands. Concentrates and wax come from Shift Genuine Cannabis, a sister brand Dalwhinnie Farms acquired in 2020 and processes at an extraction lab in Denver.
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But it’s everything else they’re stocking that’s making a statement. Think: Jacquie Aiche’s beloved Sweet Leaf line (custom-adorned, vintage Rolexes included), Rogue Paq carrying cases, Pasotti umbrellas, Badash crystal ashtrays, home goods from Jonathan Adler and handmade pipes and bongs by Summerland and Stonedware. Dalwhinnie Farms-branded cashmere blankets, candles, apparel, accoutrements and equestrian-style leather goods are also on hand.
“We’ve curated a selection of designer apparel, jewelry and home goods in addition to top-of-the-line cannabis showpiece accessories from all over the world—with the traveler, entertainer and aesthete in mind,” explained Dalwhinnie Farms CRO Ashley Grace, who was a founding marketing executive with Charlotte’s Web. “This building dates back to 1890 and housed general stores, coffee shops, beauty parlors and diners throughout the ages, so it was inspiring to create a space to also sell Dalwhinnie Farms dry goods and sundries to continue that heritage.”
With the ski season in full swing, Mendez and Grace share an exclusive first look into the cannabis store that literally defines luxury cannabis through a modern western aesthetic.
Dalwhinnie Farms, 108 S. Mill St., Aspen, Colorado, dalwhinnie.com
“The spirit of Dalwhinnie was born on our ranch in southwestern Colorado, named after the Gaelic phrase for ‘gathering place.’ The jagged San Juan peaks, the painted horses in the snowy meadows and the peaceful Uncompahgre River—we are so inspired by this land. Our Aspen boutique is the ultimate expression of the Dalwhinnie Farms brand.” —Terrance Mendez, CEO, Dalwhinnie Farms
“In our opinion, the industry hasn’t evolved enough. That is precisely why Dalwhinnie Farms came to life. We are setting a new standard for cannabis through an upscale shopping experience and created the store to be a comforting environment promoting cannabis exploration and education. Of course, there was a time when a dispensary could not sell anything outside of cannabis, and look how far we’ve come.” —Ashley Grace, CRO, Dalwhinnie Farms
“The boutique is representative of how we live, work and play. The western ranching lifestyle has always been about hard work, dedication and love for what you do. A place that feels warm, friendly and luxurious is just what the Dalwhinnie Farms brand needed for its flagship dispensary in Aspen. Creating a welcoming environment was just as important to our first-time cannabis buyer and our loyal customers stocking up on candles, room sprays and diffusers from the Dalwhinnie Farms Home Fragrance Collection. And of course, this design that embraces a western, equestrian lifestyle is the perfect connection to the ranch, where all of our cannabis is grown.” —Ashley Grace, CRO, Dalwhinnie Farms
“Keeping the space raw, a little rough, showing its age with pride was important to us—and dressing it up was the fun part. Great care was taken in the exterior renovations, and we worked closely with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, which provided original photos of the building as a design resource, and that was crucial to the process. We worked to protect the industrial bones of the building. The thoughtful equestrian touches pay homage to the working horses that still live on our cannabis campus in Ridgway mixed with classic accents, such as antique mirrors and aged leather.” —Ashley Grace, CRO, Dalwhinnie Farms
“If you take a look around our store, you’ll find meaning everywhere. The building materials needed to reflect the brand—a mix of innovation and tradition—weathered and worn floors with crisp white marble, antique brass with modern light fixtures. The main wall is a replica of a 250-year-old stable divider from Dalwhinnie Ranch. The video playing behind the flower bar is a collage of footage from the grow facility, ranch life and polo fields to share a glimpse of ranch life. Our life-sized gold horse in the shop, while becoming iconic to the brand, is a moment—a cheeky photo opportunity and something to remind us that Dalwhinnie Farms is a serious brand with a serious sense of humor.” —Ashley Grace, CRO, Dalwhinnie Farms
“We certainly envision a day when our customers can visit Dalwhinnie Farms dispensaries in Malibu, Palm Beach or the Hamptons, but for now we’re focused on expanding the brand throughout Colorado. It helps that our operational focus on Colorado has allowed us to button up our processes, our vibe—and this will allow us to grow more organically and gracefully. That said, we are already actively discussing opportunities in other states with potential partners, and we’ll be making that move when the timing is right.” —Terrance Mendez, CEO, Dalwhinnie Farms