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5 Secrets From the Successful Vape Shop’s Playbook

5 Secrets From the Successful Vape Shop’s Playbook

According to vape shop owner, Bill Maxey, many people like himself entered the vape industry with a passion for helping others overcome their smoking addictions. “Over the last few years, however, that message has been lost upon a lot of shops. It’s important to go back to the basics and remember why we are here,” he says.

Maxey’s Texas vape shop is going strong since opening in 2014, and it’s not by chance that he’s managed to succeed where others have struggled. Read on for 5 secrets that make his small retail store healthy, happy, and sustainable:

1. Have a Niche

“It is so important to find your niche in the [vape] industry and then live inside of that,” says Maxey. “I would say that we fall into the category of a boutique juice store.” Bill puts a lot of time and effort into researching and curating premium e-liquids that are made with high-grade ingredients, and many of his e-liquids aren’t available anywhere else.

Another thing that makes Maxey’s store unique is his customer base. “Our customer base is older and transitioning from smoking to vaping,” he explains. “We welcome anyone that walks through our doors, but our focus is mainly on the adult customer and helping them understand the transition process to vape. . . and we really place a heavy importance on education.”

2. Reflect Brand Identity in Store

Brand identity not only helps retailers distinguish themselves from competitors, but it also relays the company’s story in a way that will resonate with customers and encourage them to associate with their brand.

When shoppers enter vape shops, what they see tells them a lot about the business. Maxey knows this, and he knows who is customer base is. That’s why the interior of this vape shop doesn’t have the stereotypical vapor shop look and feel.

There are no posters on the walls, and you won’t find mechanical gear or hobbyist mods. What you do find are high-end finishes, a well-lit atmosphere, and a space that’s very clean and professional.

3. Be an Exceptional Leader & Create an Awesome Team

In the book, Unshackled Leadership, it lists characteristics that all successful organizations share, “They have enthusiastic, confident, optimistic, appreciative and happy people who work together on behalf of a future they have all committed themselves to.”

This is a great way to describe Maxey and his staff who are in the vape industry to help their community lead a healthier life, not rip off customers to make some quick cash. Honesty and a genuine passion for people drives the shop’s success.

In fact, the Texas vape store’s team plays a monumental role in the business’s success. Great care was taken in selecting the team and each member of the staff went through a thorough training program to ensure they understood the customer service standards.

“Because of this attention to detail in training, it doesn’t matter what the experience level of the customer is when they enter the shop – the staff is well equipped to assist them and help them through any situation.”

Source: Smoke & Vape

The passion that Bill Maxey and his wife Jennifer have for their customers and the vaping industry is evident in everything they do. “Their honestly as business owners and dedication to educating and creating awareness for healthier smoking options quickly propelled them to the top,” says Smoke & Vape. It’s no surprise that they’ve been so successful. They manage their shop with a selfless and knowledgeable team that’s driven by passion.

4. Provide Over-the-Top Customer Service

Maxey’s establishment isn’t your typical vape shop. The staff cares deeply about every single person who walks through the door and they take education very seriously.

“Customers are never rushed in the shop and we take pride in helping them understand our products and how to get the most out of their purchase,” states Maxey.  He goes on to say:

“We are more concerned about getting our customers what they need and making sure they understand the products they are purchasing. We want to make sure that they get what they want and what they need. We spend an average of 15 to 30 minutes with customers explaining things and answering questions, but my staff has spent 3+ hours with someone who has a lot of questions in the past. It’s not out of the norm for us to spend that much time with a customer if they need it.

Source: Smoke & Vape

Bill and Jennifer are in the vape business for the right reasons and their customers are benefiting from it just as their store is.”Treat your customers right and do right by them and at the end of the day you will be successful,” advises Maxey.

5. Cultivate Return Business

As Annex Cloud points out, it’s 16 times as costly to build a long-term business relationship with a new customer than simply to cultivate the loyalty of an existing customer. Furthermore, 20% of customers of a given company are the source of 80% of the company’s profits.

Maxey’s customer base is the shop’s biggest marketing campaign. His entire team goes above and beyond for each person that sets foot in their store – and it shows. According to Smoke & Vape, “The shop’s dedication to their service is what keeps the community buzzing, new customers coming in, and old customers refusing to go anywhere else.”


Vape stores everywhere should take a cue from Bill Maxey’s store owner playbook by following the 5 guidelines above. After all, his San Antonio shop is firmly on the map and will undoubtedly continue to be a hit with customers for years to come.

Store owners willing to learn from Maxey’s exceptional business practices will be rewarded with a sustainable and profitable vape business that will remain relevant and in demand.

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Also published on Medium.

About The Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and two small business e-books. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime. A graduate of Brigham Young University, she worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current writing position at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with small business owners.

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