September 5, 2018

Columbus: Retail Hub Leading Cannabis Innovation

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Nestled right in the heartland of America lies Columbus, Ohio. This city of 860,000 wears many hats: a corporate headquarters mecca, college town, and swing state capital are just a few. But dig deeper and there are two more identities that are starting to particularly shine in the city’s current boom: cannabis and retail hub.


The retail industry has strong roots in Columbus: retail giants such as L Brands (the parent company of brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works), Abercrombie & Fitch, DSW, The Limited, and Express all make their headquarters home in Columbus.

This legacy comes with it an almost unparalleled knowledge base in pivotal places such as leadership and supporting infrastructure. Understanding of how to successfully build brands, repeat the successes to scale, implement the logistics, and test new concepts are all things companies in Columbus are not only positioned to do but do well, especially for cannabis companies.


One of Columbus’s greatest assets to the retail industry has always been its representativeness: the city is ranked forth by WalletHub as the demographics that most resemble America as a whole. This means that Columbus is an ideal retail test market; retailers can not only have a pulse on what Americans want in retail but can experiment with a functioning microcosm of consumers across the country with a much lower overhead than almost all coastal cities.

Retail in Columbus is continuously pushing the envelope with commerce solutions, which recently has skewed more and more experience-based, lifestyle-building solutions for customers.

And because the city is a little more under the radar than bigger cities when it comes to launching, companies can pursue experimental and new retail and can show how Americans across the country will react to it in a more controlled way for a lower cost. For instance, a cannabis shop in Columbus can tweak their designs, customer service interactions, and lifestyle branding and still find the demographics appropriate for a Colorado dispensary with a lower overhead and thus more room for innovation.


Finally worth mentioning is the fact the country’s third largest university (The Ohio State University) is located in Columbus, giving companies access to a constant stream of up-and-coming talent. This lower cost of living is attractive to young talent who are especially excited to work for upstart cannabis companies and can help drive innovation from the deep roots of Columbus’s retail history.

Columbus is a uniquely-positioned innovation, retail, and cannabis company incubator. Be sure to check out the latest news on the Columbus retail market here.

Bloomberg Business

"Cannabis Company Backed by Retail Fortune Eyes East Coast Expansion"

The Province

"Opinion: The future of cannabis retail is simple, integrated, and welcoming"

CBC Business

“Unlike big names in production at centre of cannabis frenzy, company plans to focus on retail side of things”

Tech Startups

"Former Victoria Secret executive raises $85 million for cannabis startup…"

The Growthop

"Green Growth Brands completes upsized raise of $85 million to satisfy investor demand."


"Green Growth Brands announced it has completed a raise of C$85 million ($65.7 million) in a private placement…"


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