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Local Brick and Mortar Businesses - A Cutthroat Industry?

Howdy, from Katy, TX. I am pretty much new to vaping and will stop and visit a local shop in the Greater Houston area. I make a "list" of what each shop has as far as e-juice flavors, mods, rdas, etc. I try to support local shops as I depend on a few for advice and direction.

One thing that I've noticed, here in Houston TX, there are numerous brick and mortar vape places. Some are strictly vape, some are smoke shops that include vape, some are hookah bars that include vape. Even have some in gas stations. Just as there are various places, the reception that you get from the shop proprietor is widely varied. Some (the ones that I come back to) are laid back and very helpful. I am a person that asks tons of questions and may not make a purchase the first or 2nd time, but I will remember you and show my thanks by making a sizable purchase when I finally do make a purchase.

Other locations often display the outright lack of wanting to help you. They lie and try to pressure you into buying something clearly not right for you; and don't use the words, "I'm just looking"-they instantly become used car sales persons. I've had one shop proprietor tell me they don't take too kindly to "just looking". I've never been back to that establishment since.

I've also had one proprietor ask me why the heck was I wanting to vape since I am a non-smoker of over 30+ years. On the 3rd or 4th visit to his shop, after asking questions the other times, he did not even want to let me demo his e-juice. After he saw I was serious, he changed his tune. I bought a lot of stuff from him but he had to endure my "lecture" about my shopping style and how this was my money and maybe a different type of customer than he was accustomed to.

In this short time for me, I've also seen a few local shops go out of business or move. I am trying to support one that has moved to a "secret" location after losing his lease. I get a couple of 60/120 ml bottles from him regularly and really hope that he can stay in business. I've even offered to volunteer at his new shop to help him out.

Like I said, I am new to vaping. I would love to hear from someone who knows more about trends, or where the vaping industry is headed (online and Chinese made?)

I welcome comments.

vincent1966
 

TRAPstar

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its the same thing in SC...some are super nice and some people are just asshats.

ive had two places give me brand new bottles of juice (store brand and premium) just to try, and ive had a few not let me drip test, or even test period...needless to say i never return to any place that wont give me fair service (not expecting free stuff, just expecting a decent experience)

heck, some shops are so cool with me ive only made minimal purchases (under $40 total from said store) but i come in almost every other day just to talk, vape, and test.


to me vape shops should be like a head shop, we are all members of a growing and still niche community so we should treat each other like so...

usually when i go in to a shop ill "play dumb" or "sandbag" and see how they treat me, after that i show/tell them what i really know (advanced vaper, builder, high knowledge of electrical law) lol usually they take kindly to it but some places dont seem to find it too funny...
 

wally

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Yea you find a lot of crap talk in a lot of B&M stores, They do try to sell you everything if your new. Once they find out you been at it for awhile they will stand shy. I did 99% of my business right on line and learned much more because they did not have anything to sell.
 

Zamazam

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There was a local vape shop that was run by a guy and his relatives who were barred from selling tobacco at another store they owned because of unpaid taxes and sales to minors. They tried to implement a $5 charge for testing their juices, mostly Chinese crap with some bigger names. Needless to say this went over like a big bowl of Egg Salad that had sat out in the hot sun for a whole day on a pick-nick. They sold mostly ego kits and some other stuff like Innokin kits for 2-3 times what other stores were selling them for. The owner and his family were/are nasty asshats who seemed to think gouging new vapers was a form of art. Thankfully they are out of business. As a vaper I hate to see B&M's close down, but this one was needed. The horror stories I heard from new vapers at other stores confirmed my view of the shuttered vape shop. They were simply in it to extract as much money as they could from any one who set foot in their store. The fact that they lost their license to sell tobacco products and had to close 2 other stores says it all.
 

wally

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There was a local vape shop that was run by a guy and his relatives who were barred from selling tobacco at another store they owned because of unpaid taxes and sales to minors. They tried to implement a $5 charge for testing their juices, mostly Chinese crap with some bigger names. Needless to say this went over like a big bowl of Egg Salad that had sat out in the hot sun for a whole day on a pick-nick. They sold mostly ego kits and some other stuff like Innokin kits for 2-3 times what other stores were selling them for. The owner and his family were/are nasty asshats who seemed to think gouging new vapers was a form of art. Thankfully they are out of business. As a vaper I hate to see B&M's close down, but this one was needed. The horror stories I heard from new vapers at other stores confirmed my view of the shuttered vape shop. They were simply in it to extract as much money as they could from any one who set foot in their store. The fact that they lost their license to sell tobacco products and had to close 2 other stores says it all.
Agreed, I remember back when they first started the owner and the employees knew nothing actually kinda funny how they winged it. But once they figured that you knew something they would listen to you so they could learn. It is better now days some have learned problem is I have a problem with the ones that try to sell the new vapors equipment that should be for a experienced persons which just confuses them and they have to come to places like this to learn. Personally I think they should all start them on ego type ecigs and work them up to the better units. If you think about it they would do much better in doing this and make more money in the long run. And the customer would be much happier.
 

UncleRJ

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Sadly, this applies to B&M Vape Shops as well.

JERKS.jpg

Some are in it just to make a quick buck.

And some are in it because they are driven to by a love of the lifestyle and really wanting to help folks stop smoking and to help all the come through their doors.

And everything in between!
 
I went to a b&m today because:
1. I had some time on my hands
2. I am still trying to find direction (I posted something about that somewhere else) and thus am still gathering info.
3. It had been a while since I went in there last time. I try not to loiter around these places but I do space out my visits, especially if I don't buy anything that particular time.
The guy was helpful, but odd at the same time. Another customer came in and was asking the questions I wanted to ask, so I just listened. He also ended up spending $70.00 for a dripper clone (bullet?). I wish I could do that, especially so that I can reward people that are helpful to me, but I simply can't. I have a wife, kids, and obligations so I have to do whatever I can do as cheaply (but safely, when it comes to RDAs) as possible.
I did learn some stuff, but probably can't go back for a while and should be ready to buy something when I do return. Was wanting to buy some juice (Fire Blast) but was told it might not work in my iJust2 tank kit. Sigh...
I'll probably buy a mech mod, batteries, and dripper off eBay and then have the guy build my coils and provide cotton for now. That is, if he is willing to. He might not do it on some weird principle or something.

Side note: He might want to get a more concealable side arm than the full size imprinted Glock he had.
 

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