Portland Cannabis Brand Serra Took Over an Auto Body Shop for Its First L.A. Dispensary

It's now open for social distancing-friendly shopping on West Third Street.

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This article was last updated on April 23, 2020.

Much to the delight of cannabis connoisseurs across California, dispensaries are considered an essential business in the age of 'rona. And now, Angelenos can get a taste (or a puff) of Portland's potent pot scene at Serra's first L.A. dispensary, which opened in late March on stylish West Third Street.

The Oregon-bred brand transformed a former auto body shop into a sleek marijuana department boutique — a process that "certainly posed some unique design challenges," says Serra founder and brand partnerships director Cambria Benson Noecker. She tapped award-winning L.A. design studio Commune to help turn the midcentury building into a greenhouse-inspired space, complete with brass fixtures, honeycomb floor tiling, and light-welcoming front windows, to name a few modern design elements. (The firm also collaborated with L.A. ceramicist Alex Reed on an exclusive $240 stoneware pipe for Serra).

Photo: Courtesy of Serra

"Instead of rebuilding and starting fresh, we did an extensive renovation, honoring the original architecture and history of the building in hopes of adding to the landscape of the neighborhood," she tells UncoverLA. "We wanted to make Serra L.A. feel like our original, but with a fresh look. [Commune] maintained our brand's material palette of white oak, brass, Calcutta marble, and concrete. They also injected some beautiful hemp-based materials that warmed up our space and reimagined our fixtures to truly highlight our Serra products and the curated brands we love."

A marble confections counter features a full menu of Serra's foodie-faved edibles such as gumdrops, caramels, and its line of bars cooked up with fellow Rose City brands Woodblock Chocolate, Stumptown Coffee, and Jacobsen Salt Co. A glass and gold flower counter serves bud blooms from Moon Made and Serra's own newly-expanded offerings, while a wellness shop offers beauty and wellness products from L.A.'s own Steam and more.

Photo: Courtesy of Serra

In addition to offering the brand's newly-expanded line of pre-rolls, vaporizers, and sustainably-farmed flowers, the shop also carries vape cartridges by Chemistry, tinctures by Papa & Barkley, and artful ceramic and stoneware pipes Miwak Junior and Tetra. There's also exclusive capsule collection of apparel, accessories, and more from California-based brands, such as tees and pullovers ($45 to $98) by sustainable label Jungmaven; a luxe black leather and canvas tote by L.A.'s Killspencer ($420); Japanese-style incense, hand-blended perfumes, and burners (430 to $240) by branding agency Cinnamon Projects.

Shoppers can browse the in-store iPad to find products in categories like happiness, relaxation, energy, focus, creativity, and relief. Budtenders also offer one-on-one service; to ensure social distancing, there's currently a maximum of three customers in the store at a time. The shop also offers online order pick-up, and soon, delivery to select L.A. neighborhoods will be available.

Photo: Courtesy of Serra

We recently touched base with Noecker to learn more about how long she's been eyeing L.A., what drew her to West Third Street, and more. Read on below, scroll down for Serra's full address and hours, and shop the L.A. dispensary online here.

What drew you to open specifically at West 3rd Street?

When researching where to showcase our Serra product line within California, and where to create a flagship store to connect with the cannabis community, [we knew] it had to be Los Angeles. We researched throughout L.A., and then West 3rd Street presented this wonderful opportunity to be a part of a neighborhood revival and to be a part of its rich history and transition. We fell in love with the walkable stretch of amazing restaurants, boutiques, stores, not to mention the welcoming and engaged community.

How long have you been planning to open in L.A., and what are you most excited about for your California expansion?

When my husband [Spencer Noecker] and I started conceptualizing Serra and outlining our product development back in 2014, we always wanted Serra to be a scalable brand with products that lived outside Portland. Spencer was born and raised in L.A., so it was a homecoming for us. It's such a dream to have a showcase store in each of our hometowns.

Photo: Courtesy of Serra

Can you share any details about any other future L.A. openings or events?

The Serra brand will remain focused on launching our wholesale products to the market, offering a thoughtful line-up of edibles, flower, and vape pens throughout the state with partnering dispensaries.

Our L.A. flagship is a place to come and experience our products first-hand and immerse yourself in the Serra lifestyle. We showcase our products alongside a curated selection of complementary L.A.-based brands, highlighting the remarkable cannabis products and artisans throughout California. Stay tuned for special events and installations with those premiere partners, once our doors are open. [Editor's note: This interview took place in February, before the non-essential store closures.]

What was your design inspiration?

The building itself is an old car garage; Commune transformed the existing structure into something spectacular. I always envisioned a cannabis "department store" concept, and together we brought that to life. With curated shop-in-shop sections dedicated to flower, edibles, self-care/topicals, accessories, and concentrates, each with a dedicated specialist this added a significant educational component to the store's environment.

Serra, 8151 West 3rd St., L.A., 90048; open daily from 12 to 7 p.m.; (323) 847-5040

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