In recent years, The Puff Palace has been making waves in Hilliard, Ohio. Started by a father and son team, the shop continues to impress customers day after day. The Puff Palace is known for their large selection of quality products, fair prices, and good conversation. Customers truly value the knowledge and service the shop offers. In just a few short years, the Ohio shop has made its mark on the community it serves and become the go-to stop for smokers and vapers in the area.
“It’s actually a funny story how the shop came to be,” begins Mo Ismail, the younger part of the father/son duo. “My father was down in Georgia on vacation visiting his sister, when he struck up a conversation with my uncle about how he was looking for a new business opportunity. They talked for a while and discussed the idea with some friends and soon they discovered that there was a smoke shop for sale in our area that’s not too far from our house,” he continues.
With the hopes that they may have actually found a viable business option, Mo decided to check out the store that was for sale. He drove down to the property, walked inside to talk to the owner, looked around and quickly found himself underwhelmed.
“When I first walked in, I was not impressed. The shop was so dimly lit, there did not seem to be any clear organization, there was dust on absolutely everything, there were boxes all over the place, and the owner never looked up from watching Netflix when I walked in. Since I was being ignored, I decided to look around the store and noticed there was a ton of space in the back that was completely blocked off and was totally being wasted. But in the end, I could see the potential in the space,” recalls Mo.
After talking to the owner and reaching an agreement, Mo and his father officially purchased the business and all the existing product in June of 2016. The next step was bringing the shop up to Mo’s standards.
“We sold all the existing product for literally pennies on the dollar just to get rid of it. Then began making a plan to improve the lighting, displays, and overall look. Even today I feel like it is still a work in progress – there is always room for improvement. We it comes to the shop, I don’t think I will ever be truly satisfied with how the shop looks, I’m always dreaming up upgrades,” explains Mo.
The Puff Palace has an Alice in Wonderland theme and features large murals painted by Mo’s sister in law which make the shop truly unique.
“I’ve been in this industry for almost seven years now, and I just love the smoke industry and all the customers that come with it. It such a diverse community and there is always something to learn from someone. I never have a boring day in the shop and I am here 70 hours a week,” says Mo.
Under Mo’s watchful eye, The Puff Palace is a huge improvement from the shop he first purchased. He made sure to prioritize getting the shop clean, bright, and organized. But the true success of the Ohio shop, goes deeper than what’s on the surface. Mo attributes his success to how he takes care of his customers. He’s honest, fair, and does his best to properly educate each person that enters his shop.
“Customer service is the most important part of this business. Taking care of customers should always be your number one priority. You can have all the same products as everybody else but if you don’t know what you are talking about and you don’t have your customers best interest at heart, you won’t succeed. The way to make it in this industry isn’t to upsell every person that walks in your door, it’s about taking the time to listen and find the product that is the perfect fit – that’s the most important part,” explains Mo.
When customers come into the shop, they know that Mo isn’t there to upsell them or rip them off. They trust his knowledge, advice, and suggestions. Mo has worked hard to build an honest reputation, and this has not gone unnoticed with customers.
“A lot of customers come in and they are unsure about the difference between products or they don’t know what will work best for them. Instead of just showing people the best we have, we make sure to talk them through all their options. We are a one stop shop and have a ton of products, so being here to help customers find what is best is a huge part of who we are,” he continues.
The shop has tons of products at varying price points, so there truly is something for everyone. Mo works with a few local artists in his community and a few from Instagram and showcases their work in the store as well. When looking for products to carry, he likes to make sure that what he carries is quality, user-friendly, and fairly priced.
“When I’m looking for inventory, I am always making sure nothing is overly priced. Everyone works hard to make a living, but they still want to enjoy themselves. So, I try to find products that are the perfect balance of price and quality,” explains Mo.
Lead by Mo and his heart of gold, The Puff Palace is a true testament to what happens when you listen to your customers. By putting customers first, striving to be honest and fair, and working hard to form lasting relationships, The Puff Palace jumped on the fast track to success.
“I have really big dreams for the future. I look forward to working hard and making them come true. I would love to have an additional store someday, but I want this one to be situated completely before I expand. I know someday I’ll see a second store and I will continue to work to make that happen,” he concludes.