Last month I attended the International Vapor Expo in Chicago, IL. While I was there I got a lot of question about the new National Smoke and Vapor Association that is getting ready to launch. The number one question I heard was, “Why would I want to join an association?”

The most immediate answer that I thought of was ‘discounts on products’ – as the Association is going to operation much like a buying group, in that Association members will get discounts on merchandise that is purchased from the Association vendors. That alone is typically enough to warrant joining the Association, but that is just the start of all of the benefits that one receives when part of such a group.

I contacted some of my customers in other industries and asked why they joined their industry’s association (or associations). Many of them started with the discounts, as money always seems to lead the conversation, but the other items they mentioned really resounded with me and some were kind of surprising.

After the discounts, education and peer consulting came in at about an equal level. The education piece I understood – as business owners tend to appreciate getting information about their industry and their business – and learn how to run their businesses more efficiently and effectively. However, the ‘peer consulting’ was something that was a bit of a surprise.

They said that due to the fact that each location operates and draws customers from a fairly limited geographic area, they could speak freely to business owners in other parts of the country and share ideas about things that they have done in their business to boost profitability. Vendor referrals, marketing techniques, and ideas on the best way to hire (and fire) staff were all items that they mentioned. When they were part of the group, they could use the internal chat feature of the website to ask questions to the entire membership, answers from people who have ‘been there and done that’, and then apply the items that they think would suit their situation best. For many people, they said that the discounts were most immediately noticed, but the education and business information that they learned from their peers was far more valuable to the overall profitability of their business.

The last item was one that really surprised me – camaraderie. They said that being part of a group, you get to form friendships with other members of their industry, as you get to communicate with them online and see them at the trade shows several times a year.

Many people said that they joined their Association for the discounts and education, and have stayed with the Association due to the friendships that they’ve made.

All of this feedback was assembled and put together to form the National Smoke and Vapor Association. Scheduled to launch in September, NSVA has plans to be the premier Association for the smoke and vapor shop industry. Association members will enjoy:

• Discounts on product purchases
• Secure website with online chat with other members
• Industry education (through webinars and trade show
educational events)
• Retailer Marketing Assistance (discounted marketing
materials)
• Peace of mind by having all vendors and retailers pre-
qualified
• Support of industry advocacy
• Membership Newsletters

Best of all, the membership is going to be extremely affordable, and the purchase discounts alone will more than pay for the annual membership fee.

Since they are just launching, the National Smoke and Vapor Association wants to let you experience the benefits of the Association before committing. They are offering a FREE 6-month membership so you can take the Association for a test run. Just go to NSVA.net to pre-register for your free membership. SVBS

Jeff Arnold Headshot

Jeffrey Arnold is the President of 4Spot Marketing and also Co-Managing Partner of National Smoke and Vapor Association. NVSA’s mission is to become the premier resource for those retailers and vendors wanting to take their businesses to the next level. The association’s primary goal will be to provide discounts and training for retailers serving this industry. Mr. Arnold can be reached at (702) 721-9763, via email at [email protected], or via website at www.NSVA.net.