$1000 and a Trestle Table – The Birth of The Vape Store
March 2016 marks two years since we opened the doors to Adelaide’s first physical store selling vape gear. The Vape Store has seen a lot of changes since that very first day that we stuck an A-Frame out on the footpath, pulled up the blinds, and waited to see if anyone would walk through the doors of our small shop on Goodwood Road at Goodwood, just south of Adelaide’s CBD.
We really didn’t know what to expect as prior to that we had only tested the waters at the markets at Port Adelaide. In October 2013 we kicked off a very modest website selling starter kits and shortly after bought a trestle table, an insane amount of red material, along with a poster printed at Office Works, which we strapped to a makeshift frame, and set up shop once a week on a Sunday.
Back then the EVOD kit was a great place to start, the Esmart was having its day and the tiny 510 kit was also a hit along with coloured CE4 clearomisers and perhaps a variable volt eGo battery. For the more serious vaper there was the Innokin MVP, providing 11 watts of power and even better, the ability to charge your phone. Each Sunday we found a regular stream of people that had never heard of electronic cigarettes, had never seen anyone vape, but were hugely curious and eager to give it a go. It wasn’t long after, that we decided to look for our own outlet so we could trade every day.
Our little shop at Goodwood had seen better days at the time we moved in. It was a little run down and needed a fair bit of doing up. Unfortunately all we could afford at the time were some shelves from IKEA and some second hand display cabinets. We also found out that trying to sell electronic cigarettes comes with its own special challenges; silly and frustrating hurdles from struggling to find an insurance company that will take you on to getting knocked back time and again for something as simple as an EFTPOS machine. But while it was all a bit cobbled together back in 2014, we somehow managed to make it work.
Since that very first day we have met thousands of people looking to make the transition from smoking – from older people who have been smoking most of their life, to younger ones that know they need to quit before their habit gets any worse and everyone in between. Helping people make that decision and then see them go on to successfully give up the cigs, has been incredibly rewarding.
We have also managed to open a second store in Holden Hill (north east of Adelaide), which is celebrating its one-year anniversary, and now have six of the best people in the industry working with us. We have also made some very good friends, some of who have launched their own businesses through The Vape Store. From day one, it’s been a lot of fun.
Our next phase is possibly going to be our most challenging as we wait to see what the South Australian Government has in store for the industry in this state. Whatever regulations they decide to introduce, we hope to continue to improve and provide great choices and service for those people who want to quit smoking and vape instead.