Roots Smoke and Vapor is a family run business located in Chicago, IL, the shop has two great locations that offer something for everyone. Whether you are looking for smoke related products like cigars, RYO tobacco, hookah or shisha, vaporizers, premium e-juices, mods/rdas, or other e-cigarette hardware – Roots has what you need. It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or an industry veteran, the Chicago shop will have what you are looking for and leave you impressed. Both locations work hard each day to provide excellent customer service and quality products in a casual and comfortable environment.
The first Roots location opened doors in 2013 in Lakeview and the second location in Logan Square opened in April of 2015 which secured a spot on Timeout Chicago’s “Best Smoke Shops in Chicago” list later that year.
“My brother, Syed, and sister, Venetia, were the ones who came up with the idea for the shop. My brother was a pack-a-day smoker and once he tried vaping he found that not only did he really enjoy it, but it helped him lead a healthier life. At the time my sister had taken some time off of her career to raise her kids and was looking to get back into the work place so they decided to open Roots,” explains Omar Ahmed, Roots Manager.
After moving back up to Chicago from Mississippi, Omar joined Syed and Venetia at Roots Smoke and Vapor as shop manager. With all three working together, the shop was able to quickly find success and eventually open another location.
“I love working with my brother and sister and being my own boss. We love what we get to do every day and the industry is a lot of fun. It’s new and cool and always changing,” says Omar.
The Chicago shop is an upgraded version of a headshop, with a cool, new, sleek, and minimalistic design. The up to date design makes the shop very inviting. The shop’s overall look was designed by Nick Marchese, a recent Columbia college graduate. Roots took out an advertisemment in the Columbia College paper, and Nick responded with some of his design ideas and soon there after became a pivotal team member in the design of the store. The back wall feature is made of reclaimed wood and recycled palettes and the entire bar is made of reclaimed wood as well. When customers walk in to the shop, they truly feel welcomed and at ease. To match the physical atmosphere of the shop, the shop staff and owners work hard to offer great customer service and maintain comfortable vibes.
“Our shop offers everything and we offer the best of everything. We work hard to make sure we carry top of the line products for our customers. We stay active in the online community to monitor trends and rely on our employees as well. For our employees, this is more than just a job, it’s a lifestyle. They all vape and they love vaping so they are great assets to our team – they have the knowledge and input we need to continue to stay successful. We don’t just work in the industry, we all use what we sell as well and this gives us an edge on our competition,” explains Omar.
Having knowledgeable staff that not only knows the products, but also uses them in everyday life is a vital aspect in the success of Roots Smoke and Vapor. When customers come in, they are assured the staff is giving them solid, trustworthy information and advice. While the visual aspect of the shop helps customers feel at ease, Omar and his siblings know it is equally as important to have staff on site that knows the products and knows how to treat customers with respect. This has given the family and the shop a great reputation in and around Chicago.
“To be successful you absolutely have to have great customer service. It doesn’t even matter what kind of products you shop carries – if you don’t know how to talk about them, you will not make it. Great customer service needs to be your number one priority. We really highlight that with everybody that works with us. Being customer oriented is key,” stresses Omar.
Roots also carries their own line of premium e-liquid called, Roots E-Liquid which has been a hit with customers.
“People really like our house brand e-liquid. We have a few flavors and a couple of best sellers that we are known for. Some of our top sellers are Bloody Mango, Desert Nectar – which is a tobacco and honey blend that is really good – and we also have also have a Chai Tea flavor that has been extremely popular as well,” says Omar.
Roots Smoke and Vapor heavily utilizes social media sites for marketing purposes. Platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Instagram have been really helpful in getting their name out to the community and showcasing the shop, products, and specials. The family owned shop also uses social media to get in touch with locals to build personal relationships in the community.
“Working with local artists and businesses in the area has been a great experience for us. We carry work from local glass artists, e-liquid from Chicago based companies, and we even carry hitter boxes that are made in Chicago as well. We find a lot of these artists on Instagram and sometimes they even call us to see if we want to carry their custom work. We then have them come in so we can check it out and if we like it, we’ll pick it up,” explains Omar.
The one stop family run shop has everything you need when it comes to smoke and vapor products. It’s no wonder that Roots has been so successful in the Chicago scene. With a fresh interior, knowledgeable staff, passionate owners, local ties, and top of line products – this Chicago shop has roots that run deep in the community and will surely be around for years to come. SVBS
For more information check out Roots on Instagram (@rootssmokeandvapor), look for them on Facebook, or visit www.rootssmokeshop.com.