Hey, I know most people here buy their stuff online and most people here are hard core DIY’ers who don’t really have the need for local vape shops anymore… but, I’m sure a lot of you still do visit a vape shop every so often.
With all the different laws and different popularity of vaping across the world, I’m really wondering what vaping is like in your country. What do you like in your favorite shop, what is allowed and what not? What are you missing or is there just too much? What makes your favorite vape shop special?
OK, so let me start
I’ve only been back in Belgium for a couple months, but what I’ve seen so far is that vape shops are generally very “chique” establishments, so much that I almost feel out of place walking in in jeans.
Most of them have 2-3 people in the shop and there’s barely any customers inside, probably due to vaping restrictions in public areas. People often go in, buy their stuff and get out. Lately I have seen some shops that opened a separate area in the shop, advertised as being able to vape in it but I’ve never seen anyone vaping in such area and when I walk in and ask if I can try a juice they always deny the request.
My favorite place is a little video rental business that expanded into vaping products. It has 2 brothers doing the vaping sales and their mother mainly takes care of their video rental stuff.
The cool thing is that they actually know a fair bit about vaping (yes, I’ve been in vape shops where sales people didn’t even know about differences in coils, clapton wire, TC, etc) and that they’re spending ALL the necessary time on their customers to explain what they need to know. The bad thing with that is of course that once you go in, you never know what time you’re getting out of the shop. Since there’s a vaping restriction in public areas, including shops, they do take people out the front door for a vape if the customer wants/needs to try something which can be a little annoying if there’s a line of customers waiting.
They sell everything from small MTL vaping “usb” sticks to quad 18650 regulated mods, the latest and most popular tanks and RBAs and there’s zero restriction on tank size, even though the TPD mentioned something about 2ml. Mech mods are on demand and they only stock VTC6 batteries because “they’re the best” according to them (they do believe they’re rated for and sell them as 30A )
There’s a wide range of liquids, both with and without nicotine. However, if you want to buy more than 30ml of liquid, you’re basically forced to buy 0mg liquid and get separated 18mg nicotine boosters. Popular brands like Dinner Lady, Suicide Bunny, 12 Monkeys, Beard, … you name it, it’s there. Obviously there are also a lot of Euro brands there that are probably a little less known in the rest of the world.
I can also find all the necessary equipment for DIY, most popuplar wicking materials, tools, basic wire and pre-made coils, a fairly wide range from flavor suppliers like TPA, CAP, FA and our national brand FlavorMonks. Scales, syringes, pipettes, bottles, (mostly pre-mixed) base liquids, … it’s all there to get started. They carry an awful lot of things in a packed and stacked little shop.
There are quite A LOT of vape shops around here. Anywhere in this tiny country, you’ll find a vape shop within 15-20 minutes of where you are. In my town of a little less than 100,000 people there are 5 vape shops. Also in gas stations and super markets you can buy the more generic e-liquids but very little hardware.
What I’m really missing in our vape shops is a place where people can sit down, learn to build coils with the help of someone else, where people can try different liquids (doesn’t even need to be free, just pay a little fee and for example try 5-10 different juices) or even make their own first juices. There’s very little atmosphere in any vape shop I’ve visited and the “welcome to stay” feeling is completely absent.
Because of our laws and the way that vape shops operate, people have no incentive to hang around in a vape shop, maybe try a few things and be seduced into buying something new. Customers just go in, buy their their thing and get out.
On the other hand, our laws prohibit online sales of nicotine products (that includes e-cigarettes or parts of e-cigarettes but excludes 0mg e-liquids) so vapers have to physically go to vape shops no matter what.
So where about do you live and what’s it like for you?