Speakeasy Vaporium is a high end vape lounge serving Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Yulee, and Jacksonville Florida. Their goal is to provide the best products available in a warm, refined atmosphere, and each day they do just that. The shop carries brand name e-juices, equipment, and products that range from affordable to high end so there is something for everyone. Since officially opening their doors in August of 2014, the prohibition themed shop has made a name for themselves in their community and quickly received support from customers.
In addition to running a full time construction engineering company, Speakeasy Vaporium owner and president Jason Hambrecht was looking to open a second business that would allow him to interact with customers, let loose, and have fun.
“I was looking to open a new business that was less stressful than what I do full time, would let me have fun, and was an interesting challenge,” explained Jason. “I had a few ideas in my head of what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t until I took a trip up to Atlanta with a friend that I was really inspired to open a vape shop,” he continues.
In Atlanta, Jason visited a few bars and restaurants at night with his friends and noticed just how many people were vaping and how popular it had become. Back in 2014, the vaping craze had not yet hit the part of Florida where Jason was located, so he was pretty unfamiliar with the industry. Upon returning home from his trip, he began to heavily research the industry, the products, and the options people had in his area when it came to vaping.
“When I got back from Atlanta, I really started to look into the industry. The more I looked at it, the more I became interested. Eventually I got to the point where my wife, Jenny, started to get involved and it sort of took off from there,” said Jason. “We ended up working with a vape store consultant, Norm Bour with Vape Mentors, which had a significant positive impact on us from the beginning. I highly recommend Norm and his team if you are considering opening a vape shop or already own one and need some help”.
The Florida vape shop is modeled after old speakeasy bars that were around during prohibition. The inside is all wood and conveys the classy and comfortable theme. From the time Jason had the idea to open the shop, it took him just three months to officially open the doors.
“The shop is based on that era. We have prohibition books sitting around, old leather chairs that fit that time period, and wood walls. Jenny saw the connection between the prohibition era and how the vape industry comes off as a little controversial and new age to some and just ran with the idea, so we decided to stick to that theme. I wanted to make the store comfortable for everyone and drew some inspiration from what the lobby of a Ritz-Carlton looks like. When I was coming up with the overall look of the shop, I wanted it to work for the 60 year old man whose doctor told him he needs to quit smoking, but at the same time remain modern and fresh for the younger generations. It was designed with all ages in mind,” said Jason.
The shop was an instant success from the first day. Customers loved the calm vibe of the Speakeasy Vaporium and made it their go to vape shop. After a few preliminary magazine ads in the tight knit community of Amelia Island, Jason and his wife Jenny, Vice President of Speakeasy Vaporium, realized they didn’t need to rely on anything but word of mouth in terms of marketing – the shop atmosphere and product line spoke for itself.
“Our juice line is very diverse, we don’t make our own juice, we use all nationally recognized brands. We have close to 100 different juice flavors from all over the country and we are constantly rotating them out. That’s definitely one thing that customers love about our shop. We find most of our juices through word of mouth and through our customers. The juices don’t always take off every time, but listening to our customers really helps us narrow down what the area is looking for,” explains Jason.
When the shop first opened it’s doors, Jason and the staff held clinics to show people the benefits of vaping and also how to vape. Today, they no longer need to hold these events because most people have a grasp on the process at this point, but they are always more than willing to help anyone that comes in learn more about vaping. By building an honest relationship with the community right from the start, the Speakeasy Vaporium quickly made a name for themselves. Since then, the shop has held anniversary parties, had a booth at a local car show as well as music festival nearby.
The Speakeasy Vaporium is always looking to stay involved in the community and get to know the people they serve. They are a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Jason was awarded Business Leader of the Year for 2015. This year, they have been nominated for Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce and employee James ”Bo” Hiser, has been nominated for Customer Service Professional of the Year as well.
“One of the biggest factors in our success is our customer service. Our team members Sean and Bo run the store and they are amazing to work with. It is a really cool job to have and they don’t take it for granted. I consider them friends more than employees. All of our customers love them. We established a list of baseline customer service procedures in the beginning which have now become habit” says Jason.
If you find your shop struggling or are looking to improve business, Jason suggests coming up with a way to make your shop stand out.
“If you just want to open a vape shop just to open one, you are going to be fighting an uphill battle the entire time. When we started this store I came up with the speakeasy idea so we would stand out. I think having a theme is very important for a vape shop. It gives you a sense of direction with the business and gives you a way to stand out among other vape shops in your area. It could be something as simple as a comic book theme, but having a fun and interesting theme will get people talking,” explains Jason.
Looking forward to the future, Jason is most excited about expanding the business and opening additional locations. He is already working on a second location and plans are coming together for a third.
“Even though I am a bit concerned about the new FDA regulations, I’m really looking forward to opening multiple stores. This industry is a really fun place to be and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” says Jason.
Stay up to date with the Speakeasy Vaporium on Twitter, Instagram, or at www.speakeasyvaporium.com. Follow the shop to see new product announcements, new juice lines, and shop specials. SVBS