In 2001, Ramy Guirguis first opened Vishions Smoke Shop in San Diego selling mostly pipes and tobacco. As time went on and the industry began to evolve, Vishions began to take on a new shape.
“When vaping began to seriously develop around 2012 and basic e-cigarette pens started to gain popularity, we did some research and realized we really liked the concept and wanted to add vape products to the shop. I knew it was going to explode,” explains Ramy, Owner of Vishions Smoke Shop.
The shop’s ability to change with the times is a big part of its success. Ramy’s ability to spot trends and implement changes has kept Vishions a top competitor for nearly two decades. In an industry that can change overnight, flexibility can go a long way. Today, Vishions has grown to nine locations across California, but the original store in San Diego is by far the most vape heavy.
While the San Diego location offers many vaping products and options, customers can also find a huge selection of smoking accessories including hand blown glass pipes, water pipes, hookahs, grinders, rolling papers, lighters, ashtrays, incense and more at this location and the others as well.
The entire Vishions team is very knowledgeable on each and every product in the store and has firsthand experience in using most products. When customers come into the shop, they know the information and education they are getting is genuine and trustworthy.
“We all vape and have tried everything in the shop. We go to all the expos throughout the year and stay up to date on what’s new and how things are being improved. My team and I are really into this industry, it’s something we are super passionate about. We want our customers to have the best stuff at the best price and a great experience when they visit the shop,” says Ramy.
Carrying the best products at fair prices has been a proven method for many smoke and vapor shops in the industry, but like Vishions, the ones that truly put their customers first are the ones that blow the competition away. The importance that customer service plays in this industry is sometimes forgotten. As products evolve quickly and trends change overnight, maintaining a relevant inventory can be a full-time job and downright overwhelming. At the end of the day, it’s really not about what you are selling, it’s about how you are selling it – a business practice Ramy and his team know a lot about.
“When customers come in, we make an effort to get to know them. We know our customers by name and we enjoy building relationships with each and every one of them. When I am not in the shop, my manager James handles pretty much everything. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to vape. He can help customers with juice, mods, building – you name it, he can do it,” mentions Ramy.
The original San Diego location is operated by a small team consisting of: Chance, Will, Sebastian, Rory and lead by the manager James. The team is beyond passionate about what they do, and that passion is easily picked up on by customers that drop in the shop. Not every smoke shop in the industry makes customers feel as comfortable as Vishions does – which is why the shop has continued to be the first choice for smokers and vapers for years. Having a strong, knowledgeable team is what really has propelled Vishions to the top.
“Our shop is super clean, and we make an effort to greet each customer that walks in. We want people to feel like they know us when they walk in – we strive to keep the atmosphere super comfortable and want it to feel like a second home,” adds Ramy.
While other smoke and vapor shops can come off a little pretentious at times when it comes to telling customers about new products, Vishions strives to keep a down to earth vibe and never wants customers to feel judged if they don’t know about the latest and greatest products or trends. The San Diego shop is there to serve the full range of customers. From the guy who has never vaped before to the expert veteran vaper, Vishions treats everyone with the same respect and provides the same service.
“The way we treat our customers is how we made a name for ourselves. We do zero advertising – new customers are drawn in purely by word-of-mouth. Not only are we a knowledgeable shop, we are also really friendly and welcoming. We learn from each other and work to be better with each day. We push each other to be the best that we can be for our customers,” explains Ramy.
Over the years Vishions has grown in size, but most importantly the passion of the staff continues to grow as well. While the shop is always working hard to carry the best products, they are also working hard to make sure they are always providing the best service in the best way possible. When you love what you do, customers will come in for the products, but stay for the people. The staff of the shop is truly a close group of friends and they treat each other like family.
“Helping people transition from cigarettes to healthier alternative is truly why we are in this business. At the end of the day, it’s not about the money, it’s about helping people and seeing how happy it makes them. We do still carry a few off-brand cigarettes and loose leaf tobacco in the store, but we have significantly weaned down our selection in favor or making more room for vape products,” mentions Ramy.
Looking forward to the future, Ramy is excited to continue to grow the Vishions customer base and find new products to carry.
“I am really looking forward to finding some new juices to carry. Juices that are a little more complex. I’ve been trying out a few craft juices lately that have different flavor notes depending on how long they are hit. These fusions juices have really peaked my interest and I’m excited to see how our customers react to them,” says Ramy.
It is often said that if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to the Vishions Smoke Shop team. Their passion for this industry and the people they serve has shined through since Ramy first opened the doors in 2001. The San Diego shop pays close attention to market trends and new products in order to provide the best service possible. The knowledge the team has adds so much value to the shop and keeps customers coming back again and again. It’s no surprise that Ramy has been able to keep Vishions a success over the years – and he will surely continue to do so for years to come. SVBS