Vapor Source expands with e-cigs' growth [The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo. :: ]
(Pueblo Chieftain (CO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 13--Francesca Gettler and her co-workers at Vapor Source didn't need to wait long for the e-cigarette wave to hit. Soon after opening one of the state's first e-cig stores in 2011, a trickle of customers became a rush.
Two years later, the company, started by Jason Casados of Pueblo, operates two local stores, an online store and a wholesale division that supplies other retailers in the state and the nation.
"It's crazy growth, which gives us an opportunity to be a platform," said Gettler, the company's operations director, who hired on after becoming convinced of the e-cigarettes' effectiveness in helping tobacco smokers quit.
Like most Vapor Source workers, Gettler was a customer before she was an employee. In her case, she was a packa- day smoker haunted by the pain of a grandmother who smoked and died from lung cancer.
Desperate to quit, she gave e-cigarettes a try.
"It was unreal. I personally quit the very first day," she said.
Others quit in a matter of a few days or a few weeks.
Some choose to keep smoking.
Unlike some sellers, Vapor Source remains true to its roots of marketing e-cigarettes as a way to kick the cigarette habit, and not as another option for a nicotine fix, Gettler said.
"The biggest thing that is important to him (Casados) and all of us is helping our community. It really is a management tool to get people to quit smoking. . . . Our intent
is not to draw in new smokers," she said.
The stores cater to people of all backgrounds and ages, including seniors. (Sales are prohibited to children under 18.) They do not stock any marijuana-related devices nor promote use of the devices for marijuana.
The sales staff includes men and women of varying ages and backgrounds. Shoppers are as likely to hear the stores playing Christian music as they are any other genre, Gettler noted.
The workers are the stores' major selling point, she said.
Unlike national retailers, Vapor Source's sales staff stresses personal attention and expert advice. Workers are eager to answer any question. They make suggestions about products and dosage strengths.
"They all love what they do. I don't think we have one employee that isn't firmly focused on their (customers') goals," Gettler said.
Starter kits range from $42 to $80.
The cost then drops sharply compared to buying cigarettes. Gettler spends about $12 a week on e-cigarette flavor liquids vs. the $36 or more a week she used to spend on cigarettes.
Vapor Source stores operate seven days a week at 618 W. 29th St. on the North Side and 109 W. B St. in the Union Avenue Historic District. The telephone number at the North Side store is 696-8726. firstname.lastname@example.org
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