Come Back Daily pulls off the look and feel of a cool Manhattan cafe, but the owners have built their model around cannabinoids rather than coffee.
Located near Chinatown and Tribeca, Come Back Daily opened its doors in November to capitalize on the booming CBD market and get ahead of the anticipated legalization of recreational marijuana in New York. The owners of the retail space want to move cannabinoid-infused products out of the typical head shop or dispensary setting.
Come Back Daily offers a place where customers can learn about, buy and use tinctures, topicals, edibles and other CBD-infused products.
“Besides the retail aspect of it—selling CBD to customers and educating and informing the masses—I’m really passionate about cannabis and the industry that’s forming around it, and I want to create a hub,” said Steven Phan, one of Come Back Daily’s three co-founders.
Come Back Daily sees about 150 customers each week, Phan said. He admitted the number is on the low side, saying every day consumers are still learning about CBD. The store is supplementing its foot traffic revenue by organizing events and online sales. Phan projects revenue for 2019 to reach $1.5 million—an estimate he called “pretty conservative.”
Creating a CBD Hub
Come Back Daily landed a sleek, spacious spot on Broadway in Lower Manhattan thanks to the real estate ties of co-founder Gary Tse. The space—complete with exposed white brick walls, lofty ceilings, green-tinted lights, a multitude of plants and tables—offers roughly 2,000 square feet for customers to shop and use products while working on their laptops at one of the tables or hanging out on the main floor.
Customers won’t find any products behind glass cases at Come Back Daily, and that’s intentional, said Waseem Ghattas, Come Back Daily’s other co-founder.
“I hate the vape shop model of having products in glass cases and not being able to touch them. There’s no way that’s going to make somebody feel comfortable with a product they’re going to ingest, unless they’re already used to it—like with tobacco,” Ghattas said.
Ghattas and his partners aim to make Come Back Daily “the Sephora of CBD,” he said, referring to the upscale cosmetics retail chain that provides samples for clients to try before purchase.
In other words, Come Back Daily is a place where people can not only purchase CBD items but also get education, hang out and actually try the products. In addition to products stocked on shelves in boutique fashion, customers can visit the shop’s “discovery bar,” where they can engage with employees about what each item does and, in some cases, sample before buying.
Curating the CBD Experience
Come Back Daily markets itself as “the first curated CBD shop in Manhattan.” Despite landing such ample space in downtown Manhattan, company executives set aside just a few shelves and a small display refrigerator for selling product.
Instead of boasting the widest possible selection, the shop focuses on featuring brands with appealing packages and labels as well as products that are unique in the industry, Phan said. He is especially interested in stocking items from local companies and those with proprietary or unique manufacturing processes around areas such as extraction, carrier oils and ingredients.
“I worked for a manufacturer, so I saw what was coming through the pipeline in terms of white labeling opportunities and projects,” he said. “They’re all basically selling the same thing, just with their own labels. I didn’t want that for my customers.”
Come Back Daily sells more than 100 products from about 22 companies, including Full Spectrum Hemp Elixir from California-based Ojai Energetics, cannabis-infused lip balm from New York-based Herb Essentials and chocolate bars from Oregon-based Grön CBD.
“I like to be able to tell the customer, ‘Look there’s a price difference between all of these products, but there’s a difference,’” he said. “I can explain the details of each one.”
Partnering with the Community
Come Back Daily isn’t relying on CBD products to be the sole factor bringing customers through its doors. The company is partnering with other entrepreneurs to host events with cannabinoid or cannabis themes.
A five-course brunch, advertised as an “upscale CBD experience,” was scheduled one Sunday in January with Trill Cooker, a pop-up restaurant concept out of the Bronx. The following weekend, Come Back Daily booked Sanna CBD Yoga for a “Restorative CBD Yoga” class, where attendees used Grön CBD salve for sore muscles or tight joints.
Setting aside space for hanging out or gathering is important to the Come Back Daily team because the founders want room to support and grow the community that understands the positive benefits of cannabis.
“My biggest focus right now is community collaboration,” Phan said. “Traffic is good, no matter what. People coming in here is a chance for them to buy something. And having this space is beneficial for other startups like myself that need space to either host things or a workspace.”
Right now, Come Back Daily cannot sell or allow its occupants to use marijuana in its shop because recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in New York. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he’d like to see the legalization of adult-use marijuana this year.
The founders of Come Back Daily believe legalization would help their business and possibly lead to customers being able to use and buy THC-infused products within their shop, opening new revenue opportunities.
“It’s CBD for legality purposes. But at the end of the day, it’s about cannabis education,” Phan said. “It really goes back to having a cannabis-safe space for all these things.”