How to Find a Good Vape Shop
Finding the Right Vape Shop
I have been around the vape “block” a few times in my vaping journey and one thing I learned late in my journey is that you shouldn’t underestimate the value of a good local vape shop. My hope is that this article might be useful not only to vapers and the vape community, but also to vape shop owners. I have been to a lot of vape shops, some good, some well, not so good. My goal is to provide my experience and pass along some of my thoughts on what makes a good or even great vape shop. Hopefully you will find something useful to take away.
First Things First
Up front, I want to address a question that inevitably comes up when talking about “Brick and Motor” (B&M) vape shops. Yes, you can generally find things cheaper online. Lower overhead (employees, rent/lease, space, etc.) allows for lower pricing. You can and will find the same products online for cheaper (in many cases). That being said I want to say this: I have consistently promoted on this blog that vaping is about the journey, not the destination. Like it or not we all started in the same place, not knowing anything about vaping. No matter how good an online vendor is with having help sections, links, and other resources they do not have that personal face to face service, like a local B&M vape shop. If you are just starting your journey, a good local Vape Shop can be your BEST place to start. Also, as you progress in your vaping journey a local vape shop can provide you with connections to the vaping community, support, help, and other local resources such as vaping groups. So the question becomes, how do you know if the vape shop is well… good?
Location, Location, Location
Like any other retailer you want to feel safe when you go to a vape shop. This is certainly not a commentary on “counter culture” or argument about lifestyle and please no one take it that way. What I mean by safe is that you, the vaper,needs to be comfortable going to the vape store. In the end though (even if this sounds harsh), if you don’t feel safe, don’t go. You can find another location. I almost didn’t include this criteria because unlike other retailers, vape shop owners may have to deal with city councils, zoning ordinances, and other political agendas that can make locating a vape shop difficult. So if you are a new vaper, cut your vape shop owner a break if they aren’t right next to the Macy’s in the mall. However, in the same respect vape owners please fight for your locations as hard as you can! Your potential customers will judge your location and whether they will go there. Make sure you participate in the governmental process, small business groups, and other boards/councils in your city. Whether they like it or not (or you even like it or not) your a business in your town and being a business owner means being involved.
Is Vaping the Primary Business?
This one is a bit tricky. Often tobacco shops, or other “smoking” related shops may decide to expand into providing vaping equipment. The primary “new customer” for vaping shops are smokers. It makes good business sense for tobacco or other smoking related stores to expand into vaping. I have visited a number of excellent tobacco and cigar shops that also run top notch vaping shops within them. However, these types of shops are almost a dual edged sword. They can capture new customers from their smoking crowd, but run the possibility of loosing vapers because of the tobacco on the premises (too much of a reminder). So, what advice can I offer here? I think that if you are a new vaper, or looking to switch to vaping, don’t rule out tobacco shops. However, please also read the rest of the sections below. Just because it’s a tobacco shop that has vape products, doesn’t mean it’s a good vape shop. Likewise, if you are a vaper who is uncomfortable in areas with smoking products, don’t force yourself to go, if it is too tempting wait awhile and maybe try again later or find another shop.
When you first pull up to a vape shop, take a moment before just rushing in. Look around a little. Are there customers around. Are people entering and exiting. Are they smiling? How does the front look? Is there adequate information that it is a vape shop, or shop with vaping equipment? Does it look like they take pride in their establishment. Remember we are looking for good vape shops. In my opinion a good vape shop will show on the outside and the inside.
When you first enter, again take a look around before just entering. Are you welcomed when you enter the vape shop? Again, much like the outside, how does the inside look? Is it clean and organized? Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be the Ritz hotel, but do they care about their establishment? Are there people attending to the shop ready to help, or is no one minding the store? All these can give you good insight into how the shop is run and cared for. I have found that good vape shops will make the best of what they have, poor ones don’t care and it shows. Take a few moments to notice whether that is the case. Finally, don’t walk out based solely on these first impressions. Keep reading, there is more.
I believe that any good vape shop must have certain “essentials”. These would include:
- Hardware. This would include the devices (E-cig, Mod, PV, Battery, or whatever your preferred term).
- Batteries, Chargers, and Accessories (Atomizers, Tanks, etc).
So what turns just any vape shop into a good, or even great vape shop?
Good vape shops will offer a wide selection of hardware, accessories, and e-juice. Also, in my opinion good vape shops tend to organize themselves into “sections” (Hardware, Accessories, E-Juice) and seem to work better than those where everything is combined into a single sales cabinet. This almost forces the salespeople to be specialized and know the products they are helping you with whether that be juices, or batteries or the newest rebuildable atomizer. I also think a good vape shop will have a method to taste test their e-liquids in a sanitary manner. Since taste is so subjective, the ability to try a flavor before buying it is a huge plus.
To me, great vape shops will go a step beyond that and have a juice tasting bars with proper well working equipment and sanitation (vape tip covers/condoms). They also go beyond and offer services such as rebuilding atomizers, or lessons for those wishing to learn themselves. They should be up on current vaping trends and be able to speak knowledgeably about a wide range of vaping products, styles, and preferences. A great shop will be able to read a customer and fine tune their solutions, recommendations, and help they provide to the customer.
Support of Vaping and the Community
My final thoughts on what makes a good vape shop is their commitment to vaping. A bit of a warning here, this is where my opinions really come out and not everyone may agree. This is where I see the biggest difference between good vape shops, and great ones. Good vape shops will support and understand their customers needs and provide them with solutions that meet their needs. GREAT vape shops outwardly show their support of vaping and the vaping community at large. This means that they go above and beyond to support causes, industry groups, standards, and their local community (both town and vaping). They support consumer groups like CASAA. Great vape shops will provide an atmosphere where vapers not only purchase supplies or equipment, but meet, learn, and provide support to each other. They open their doors to all vapers and welcome meets and local clubs. These are the vape shops that truly represent the best in our vaping community, providing the welcome services and products we need, and standing with us as vapers to protect the product that has helped us so much.
Until next time: Vape Loud, Vape Proud!