A fully integrated cannabis company founded in Leicester, Massachusetts

Cultivate is a fully integrated cannabis company founded in Leicester, Massachusetts. Its co-located medical and adult use store in Leicester, made history in 2018, when it became one of the two first adult-use marijuana retail establishments in Massachusetts. Cultivate is expected to open two additional retail establishments in the near future - one in Framingham and one in Worcester. Cultivate is committed to the communities in which it operates and regularly donates to organizations that support communities disproportionately impacted by the long standing prohibition of cannabis.

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All Photos @ John Horner Photography
The difference in metal paneling textures, for the upper and lower registers of the building, add visual interest and appear to heighten and elongate the structure. A dedicated exit ensures ease for the customer experience.

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The main entry features new steps and an ADA accessible ramp. A dedicated entrance assists with the need for a first interaction security checkpoint.

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An exterior lighting scheme, coupled with interior lighting visible through the translucent windows, adds to the distinctive nature of the building.

Project Scope

  • Reuse, renovate and redesign an existing freestanding building, previously used for a restaurant, to create an upscale retail experience for a cannabis dispensary.
  • Recognize that existing site conditions and regulatory protocols could foster innovative design solutions.

Project Challenges

  • Create a retail experience that conveys upscale professionalism, is approachable and welcoming
  • Anticipate overwhelming customer demand and design a spacious retail experience within an existing small, narrow footprint. Existing proportions were not conducive to creating an open, expansive environment.
  • Limited natural light due to a restriction on clear glass windows for cannabis dispensaries dictated by current regulations. Therefore, all windows must have a privacy film.
  • Incorporate a security, identification checkpoint at the entrance without compromising the overall design integrity or customer experience
  • Update infrastructure including HVAC, lighting and electrical systems

Design Solutions - Interior

  • Create a more voluminous interior by eliminating the existing steps, which created a split-level interior, to level the floor to create one continuous level
  • Raise the ceiling height for the retail floor
  • As a more inclusive solution, design all of the counters to be ADA compliant as oppose to having only one dedicated counter
  • Custom design display cases and counters with the same plywood used for the walls to maintain consistency within the materials palette
  • Incorporate freestanding display cases to define circulation and display product
  • Use simple raw materials - like concrete, plywood and metal - to create an environment that is approachable, yet through the detailing is sophisticated and professional
  • Plan for adjusted installed lighting levels to account for the diminished natural light
  • Support the concept of incorporating live plants, to relate to the brand, with custom designed shelving units where living plants are placed around the perimeter
  • Design a welcoming, first interaction retail experience by integrating the security check-point
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View from the entry vestibule features custom freestanding display cases and customized wall shelving.

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The client services area features natural materials used for the custom wood counters. A preserved moss wall alcove enhances the branded logo.

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The client services area incorporates digital displays to share product updates and news.

Design Solutions - Exterior

  • Use of 2 different metal profiles for siding: grey and wider profile for the base and white and thinner profile for the upper volume.
  • Given the long proportions of the building, use two different metal profile panels for the siding. On the lower register, a grey and wider panel. On the upper register, a white and thinner panel. This solution creates a base and an upper section for the exterior that visually has overall better proportions.
  • Vertically extend the building’s parapet to create greater presence on Route 9 and provide an area for fa ade graphics
  • Incorporate green graphic elements on the fa ade to make the building more distinguishable on Route 9 and connect to Cultivate logo

Sustainability Elements

  • Reuse of existing building
  • Stain-free, veneer-free wood
  • Accommodate live plants

By the Numbers

1,970 sqft (retail floor)

1,320 sqft (lower floor for storage)

3,600 sqft (total interiors)

Materials/Resouces

Exterior metal siding: Firestone

Glazed entry vestibule: Kawneer

Moss wall: Artisan Moss

Plywood, Steel and Glass displays: designed by Kripper Studio

Fabricator: Mousam Valley Millwork

Project Team

Architecture: Kripper Studio

Interiors: Kripper Studio

Graphics Program: Kripper Studio

General Contractor: Hadley Contracting Services

Structural Engineer: Souza, True & Partners, Inc.

Lighting Consultant: Reflex Lighting

Supergraphics: Studio Fresh

Photography: John Horner Photography

About Kripper Studio

Kripper Studio is an architecture and design firm dedicated to creating community, stewarding natural and cultural resources, and improving personal wellness through its crafting of space. Using the vocabulary of modernist architecture as a guide, Kripper Studio’s diverse residential and commercial projects express respect for local conditions, to heighten users’ appreciation of landscape and neighborhood. The firm consistently advocates for environmental-performance strategies that add value to clients’ investment.

Kripper Studio realizes these principles thanks to a collaborative approach. Its project teams consider initial input and subsequent feedback from clients, consultants, future occupants, and local stakeholders as vital drivers of design. They combine this research with rigorous exploration of precedent to present stakeholders with multiple alternative solutions, around which consensus forms. Kripper Studio also expedites the transformation of ideas into reality by prioritizing constructability as a criterion of good design. Members of the firm believe that site conditions, budgets, schedules, and regulatory frameworks can foster innovative solutions, rather than impede them.


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