After spending over a decade in the IT industry, Chip Shaw, co-owner of The Cloud Shack located in Rome, Georgia, decided it was time for a change of pace. After vaping for over a year, Chip knew opening a vape shop was the next step for him. In April of 2015, while helping his friends, Tony Cooper, Tom Hughes, and Terry Hughes with some IT work at their business, Tony mentioned to Chip that he was looking for a new endeavor as well. After doing some preliminary research, looking at the margins, and feeling like it was a good way to help people move away from smoking, the guys decided to move forward with their new idea. Just like that, The Cloud Shack was beginning to take shape.
“We invested together as a team. David Peters, Chip and I were the primary driving force behind everything and then Tom and Terry and my business provided the financial backing we needed,” explains Tony Cooper Co-Owner of The Cloud Shack.
“We spent about 30 straight days working long hours each day to get everything perfect. We started the demo process as soon as we secured a location and then put up new walls, built the bar, installed LEDs – eventually, we got everything exactly the way we wanted it and ordered inventory,” says Tony.
In August later that year, The Cloud Shack officially opened its doors and was a hit right from the start. Just recently, the growing popularity of the small town Georgia vape shop has prompted the owners to open a second location in Cedartown, Georgia.
“The relationships we have with our customers really set us apart from our competition. We work hard to provide the best customer service possible and we also work hard to provide the best products at the best prices in the area. We try to promote ourselves as being the one stop shop that has the best products, service, and prices around,” mentions Tony.
The Cloud Shack pricing model really sets the shop apart from their competition as well. When customers visit either Georgia location, they can rest assured they are paying fair prices and buying quality products.
“We didn’t go into this business to get rich. Our ultimate goal is to help people shift away from smoking by providing quality products, and our prices reflect that. We test all the products and sample all the juices that are available in our shop before they officially hit the shelves. We check all ingredients to make sure our products are compliant with FDA regulations and we also let customers sample products before they are on our shelves to get an idea of what we should carry and to gauge what is in demand,” says Tony.
In addition to fair pricing, The Cloud Shack offers a line of house juice that keeps customers coming back. The house line offers great juice at a great price as well as a top shelf premium juice for those interested in something a little better.
“We have an amazing lab that makes all of our house juice. They are absolutely fantastic. We sell 30ml bottles for $10 and those juices outsell our premium juices week after week. We feel that our juice either meets or beats quality and price of anybody in this industry. Most of our customers come in for our juice,” says Tony.
With 28 flavors that range from Baja Blast and Pink Starburst to Sugar Cookie and Sugar Mama – which is a flavor that tastes like a cinnamon roll, the unique Cloud Shack house flavors offers something for everyone and still manages to remain one-of-a-kind.
At The Cloud Shack, their philosophy is not to price gouge to make a lot of money off of one or two people. Instead, the people behind the Cloud Shack choose to maintain fair, honest prices and focus on maintaining repeat customers and truly helping people leave smoking behind.
In today’s industry small business marketing is available in many platforms, shapes, and sizes. From print, to web and social media, and radio and billboards – there are a lot of options for shop owners today. To ensure the shop’s marketing was done properly and effectively, the Cloud Shack owners decided to bring on Shea Dale as the Marketing Director.
“We strive to make sure we have a very strong social media presence through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. We also utilize billboard, phone, and email marketing. We use SEO techniques to make sure we are at the top of the list when somebody looks for us and we offer a frequent buyer club and text message alerts,” says Shea.
The frequent buyers club allows customers to earn points for every dollar they spend at any Cloud Shack location and over time earn money off future purchases. Offering programs like this makes customers feel like they are getting more for their money and keeps them coming back time after time. Loyalty programs are a great way to maintain repeat customers and establish trust.
“If you are a shop that is finding it hard to make ends meet, remember to take care of your customers above everything else. Communication with them is so important. Make sure you are talking to them to see what they want and making sure your shop is providing the products they need – not just the products that you like. It’s not easy to find out what customers want and need in a time frame where you can still survive, but it can be done. Opening a shop or any business is hard work, but you have to remember not to give up. It takes a consistent effort over time to be successful. It also takes a solid team. Make sure that the people behind you are loyal, trustworthy, and hard-working,” explains Tony.
The Cloud Shack strives to keep things fresh and new. When juice line popularity starts to decline, the staff sits down and discuss what to bring in next. The Georgia vape shop stays on top of trends and new products and continually impresses their customers.
If you find your shop struggling, the staff at the Cloud Shack also suggest that you mix it up. Take some time to look into where you might need to improve. If its customer service, take the time to work with the customers and answer more questions. If its presentation, take some time to see what works in other stores. If your juice isn’t selling, do your research, find something better. Pay attention to the little things. It’s the simple things that count and really add up over time.
Nothing is more important than doing your research when it comes to being a business owner and the Cloud Shack is first hand evidence of that. The Shack staff are constantly taking the time to build up their knowledge base so they can best serve their customers. They work hard to find the best products for the best prices for The Cloud Shack and at the end of the day, it really shows. When customers walk through the door, they can feel confident that they aren’t being taken advantage of and that there are receiving quality advice from people who are trustworthy. With such an honest reputation, it is no surprise that The Cloud Shack has found such instant success.
“Customer service has by far been the biggest factor in our success. We treat everyone who comes in here the same. Whether you have been vaping for a long time or you are looking to start, we give everyone the same amount of attention,” says Tony.
With knowledgeable staff, fair prices, quality juice, and a comfortable store atmosphere, The Cloud Shack sets itself miles ahead of the competition. In the near future, The Cloud Shack will expand to a few more locations and hopefully have doors open in four separate locations within the next year.
“We are providing products and services that we can really be proud of and that’s something to be excited about. We are now planning even more expansion in Georgia and potentially into the southeast region as well. We are planning on having a third shop open in the next few months and the continuing to expand from there. We are aggressively moving forward and excited about all of the opportunities this new and budding market has provided for us. We are looking to be a leader in the industry and we are trying to help out as much as we can with other shops and trying to help grow and build this industry,” says Tony.
To stay up to date with all things Cloud Shack look for them on Facebook, Instagram (@thecloudshack), and Twitter (@thecloudshacks) or visit www.thecloudshack.com to learn more. New products, juice flavors, and deals are posted daily. SVBS