Many Vape Shops Are So Much More Than The Sum Of Their Parts
Just before the turn of the new year, I had the pleasure of being a guest at Cherry Vape’s end of year and 5-year anniversary party. Cherry Vape was one of the earliest vapor products companies around, and I’ve known the owners for nearly two and a half years now. They got their start primarily making and selling custom drip tips and have since branched out into selling full devices and juices. Just this past year, they opened their first vape shop — CV Vape Den in Port Chester, NY.
In that time, they’ve quickly and clearly become a meaningful part of their local community. Even at the state level, they drew the attention of Senator George Latimer — who is an ally to the industry due in large part to the efforts of Cherry Vape and others in New York to educate state leadership. Latimer even brought a state certified certificate to commemorate the end of the company’s 5th year (picture below).
All in all, a wonderful crowd enjoyed a very pleasant night which few shops could (or would) offer at the end of the year. Even if a shop might do something like this, there are few that have the customer admiration and support to draw such a refreshing crowd. Imagine going to a holiday party at your local barber shop or hardware store (I’m sure it happens somewhere, but it’s certainly not the norm).
What all this points to is just how much vape shops can and are becoming a meaningful community staple. Those vape shops that do it right are more than just a small retail establishment — they are a welcoming social atmosphere where people can meet and hang out. Those shops that make their patrons both comfortable and well educated are likely to reap long-term benefits of both fierce customer loyalty and a smarter user community.
This is not an easy thing to create these days. The closest shop experience I can relate to these is that of game stores which offer tables for customers to play Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and other various games I would mention, but the average reader probably wouldn’t recognize. But these shops are exceedingly difficult make profitable. The overhead cost of a physical location pushes the price of games higher than that which can be purchased online. A game which costs $50 to $60 in a game shop often runs closer to $35 to $45 online.
Though similar issues may plague vape shops, the ability to sell product regularly and consistently to repeat customers will likely diminish this issue. And rather than tables and folding chairs (a la the game shops), many vape shops sport far more comfortable couches, cushioned seats, and the refreshing scent of various vaporized flavors.
Though smoking remains a social act in many ways, the days of purely social smoking are all but gone. Without the ability to do it indoors almost anywhere, smoking is relegated to quick runs outside (especially in cold months). Meanwhile, vape shops offer all the benefits of smoking — including the social aspects — without much of the social, financial, and medical drawbacks.
As much as e-cigs and vaping products are replacing smoking, vape shops may soon replace what’s left of smoking lounges, cigar clubs, and smoker-friendly bars.