From beautiful hand-blown glass pipes and water pipes to an assortment of smoking accessories, Pipe Down is known for having the finest, most vibrant, extensive stash of goodies for every smoker, in-stock. The New Jersey shop is a smoker’s paradise, specializing only in quality pipes and accessories. Uncluttered by kitschy, novelty items, Pipe Down locations showcase a colorful collection, including items you won’t find in-stock anywhere else and is staffed only by the most knowledgeable, friendly folks.
When he was a just a junior in college, William Demetz the owner of Pipe Down, first had the idea for the shop while taking a business course. In the class, the students were to design a business plan for a class assignment. Prior to taking the class Demetz spent a year in Europe and was particularly influenced by smoke shops in Amsterdam and decided to tailor his business plan project to fit the structure of a smoke shop.
With the help of a friend attending school for law, Demetz was able to develop a business plan that would allow him to open a smoke shop in the U.S. without violating any laws or regulations. With the plan in hand, Demetz decided to go ahead and actually make his business plan tangible. Thus, Pipe Down was born.
“So when I was just a junior in college, I opened up a tiny, little one room square in a mini mall in 1997. And that’s how it all started,” explains Demetz.
It only grew from there.
“We were able to make it to where we are today because of our customer service. We grew because we were nice to customers. At first, we were the only smoke shop around, but that is obviously not the case today. Treating every person that walks through our doors well, is why they continue to come back and why we continue to grow,” mentions Demetz.
Pipe Down now has two locations. One in Long Branch, NJ and another in Toms River, NJ.
“Giving people deals, just like anywhere else you might go, has really helped us make a name for ourselves. We love to be there for our customers and give back to them too,” says Demetz.
Physically being in his two locations is one of the reasons the New Jersey shop owner feels he has been so successful. Being hands on and on the front end of customer service, has really helped Pipe Down establish a brand and customer base.
“The best thing is being here every day. It’s good for the business and it’s what I love,” explains Demetz.
In addition to great customer service and being truly hands on, Demetz has also worked a house glass blower into the mix. Although he is not on site, customers can visit Pipe Down to inquire about custom glass work. From pipes and spoons, to bubblers and tubes – Pipe Down can get it done.
“Customers can come in and talk about what they want done. We draw up some sketches and send them to our artist. It’s a really nice aspect of our shop that sets us apart from the rest,” says Demetz.
Pipe Down stays in touch with their community via TV, radio and print advertisements that showcase their products and services. Customers can also stay up to date with shop news on Facebook and at www.thepipedown.com as well.
Demetz stresses that social media is by no means the answer to all struggling smoke shop problems, which is why you won’t see Pipe Down on a lot of social platforms. He suggests that struggling smoke shops need to think about starting small and taking the time to be physically present their shops – meeting and working with customers each and every day. He values the face-to-face interactions with his customers much more than any social media campaign and knows honest relationships formed the old-fashioned way are more important than likes, favs and retweets. His success is proof of this theory.
“In today’s industry it seems that if you are an old, established smoke shop, you will survive. They were built on forming authentic relationships. But the newer shops can make it too, they just need to keep their overhead low,” advises Demetz. “You have to spend time with your customers and get to know what they need. Make honest relationships,” he continues.
This year marks a big milestone for Pipe Down – a 20 year anniversary. The shop plans to celebrate with deals and anniversary merchandise.
“I love what I do and that’s why I’ve stuck with it so long. Don’t get me wrong, there have been failures and struggles along the way,” laughs Demetz, “but in the end, the passion for what I do, keeps Pipe Down moving forward.”
The story of Pipe Down is a small business success story with a humble beginning that was built on a philosophy of integrity, passion and service – so it’s easy to see why Pipe Down has been so successful over the past two decades. With a dedicated owner, staff who truly care about the customers and not just the bottom line, custom products and a drive to succeed – Pipe Down has found formula for success. Sure some things have been tweaked since the initial 1997 business plan, but the passion for the people of the smoke shop industry has never faded and that is why the New Jersey shop Pipe Down is the definition of success and will continue to thrive in the years to come. SVBS