Halo Retailer Spotlight: Vapor Haus of Dayton, OH
Vapor Haus founder and owner Chris Voudris speculates on the future of vaping, traditional tobacco use, and more …
Halo: Where did the name Vapor Haus come from?
Chris: I had written down tons and tons of names. I wanted to find something that really flowed and made people think twice. (Haus) is actually a German spelling for “house.” It kind of sticks in your mind.
Halo: How long have you been in business?
Chris: Going on three years.
Halo: Do you have more than one location?
Chris: I have four, all in Montgomery County. We started in about a 900-square-foot space and then we grew that into about 1,400 square feet and it just kept growing and growing. Five months later we created our second store in a nicer plaza. Then a year from that we created a third store. And a year from that we created a fourth store.
We also have a distribution company, and we got into that because we were distributing so much hardware and liquid to our own stores that we decided to open it up to the 200 other shops in Ohio. And now we have a 3,000-square-foot distribution center, VHDistro.com.
Halo: Why did you start selling vape products?
Chris: I had watched my parents go through a lot of troubles with quitting smoking and when I bought the first vape for my dad, I was shocked to see that he had finally been able to quit. He was very into it. The patch, the gum and all that. I saw a sense of excitement, because I knew that he had a good feeling about it and since he did, my mom eventually got one. And it was history. So we went around, my dad and I, looking for retail spots. And a lot of the retail commercial agents didn’t believe in it. They were shocked. They were like, “You want to sell just e-cigarettes and that’s it?” Some of them didn’t believe in it. They wouldn’t allow us to rent a space in their plaza. In November 2013 we came across this mom and pop shopping plaza with only three units and they gave us a chance.
Halo: What do you like best about selling vape products?
Chris: Supporting the friends and family that I have working for me, and also creating an outlet of income for me and my wife. Being able to put her through pharmacy school.
Halo: What do you want customers to know about Vapor Haus?
Chris: Well it kind of plays into our motto, and it’s “Our Haus Is Your Haus.” We thrive on customer service. That’s how we got people in the door. We were not the first vape shop in Dayton. There were more advanced shops. More options. People stayed with us. People were willing to drive past stores that would’ve been a lot easier for them to go to, to go to a store that really understood their needs and understood that shaking someone’s hand and remembering their name meant a lot.
Customer service is huge and environment is huge for people, because you don’t want to create an environment that’s too corporate, because it will drive a lot of the hobbyists out of the store, which is huge in Ohio, the hobbyist side. But you also don’t want to make it too hobby-like. So we found that balance, where it’s a welcoming environment for really anybody. There’s a retired teacher, he’s 71 years old, and he comes in every single day.
Halo: What’s your customers’ favorite Halo flavor?
Chris: Tribeca and Black Diamond. (Black Diamond is) probably one of the staples of our store.
Halo: What’s the first/most common question customers ask you?
Chris: They say, “What is this?” We tell them vape is three components: a battery, a tank, and liquid. I always say the same thing: “Let’s start with finding you a flavor that you’re going to like all day long. Not just in here. Let’s not get you confused on the hardware. Let’s start with the liquid.”
Once they fall in love with Tribeca or Black Diamond (for example), we then go in and find a device that they’re going to enjoy and be able to use and be confident with. And (we) also have a reasonable price behind it so they don’t have any kind of buyer’s remorse.
Halo: Do you vape?
Chris: Oh, yes. Vaping right now.
Halo: How long have you vaped?
Chris: Four years. (As to smoking,) I didn’t like the smell, I didn’t like the cost, and I didn’t like the damage it would do to other people. People don’t like being around cigarette smoke. That’s a fact. So I didn’t like those aspects.
Halo: What does vaping mean to you?
Chris: It means quite a few things. It means the future, because I know that for the rest of time, vaping will only grow. I think that vaping is going to become where it’s more popular than traditional tobacco. Kind of how pipe tobacco is right now. It’s very rare. Pipe tobacco is kind of an older style thing, right? I think that cigarettes, over the next couple of decades will become that, where you’re going to see more vapers than you are smokers at some point. I think that’s going to be in the next 10 years.
Vaping is the future, and it is also my livelihood. I get a sense of passion when I go out and I see all these new demographics vaping. The people that I didn’t see vaping three years ago. The people that didn’t believe in it. It gives me a sense of fulfillment for my livelihood to take care of my family. It’s a lot of joy.
Halo: What’s your favorite Halo flavor?
Chris: Black Diamond. Well that’s eVo. And that’s the flavor I’ve seen thousands of people get turned on to vaping with.
Halo: Do you think the public has misconceptions about vaping?
Chris: It’s changing. A lot more older demographics agree with it. And I don’t blame them, because even though people know cigarettes are horrible for you, vaping is just so much different than what they’ve seen in their lives for the last 50 years. Older people need confirmation. They need studies. Their friends need to do it before they agree with it. They need to hear testimonials. And so you’re starting to see those over time. And you’re starting to see older people go, “You know what, what the heck?”
What’s also great is you’re starting to see more friendly devices that they can actually use. That’re not over the top, not hard to use, and that’s what’s helping people agree with vaping. I think with a lot of businesses, why would they want their employees to smell like cigarettes? Why would they want them to even have a risk of all the carcinogens in cigarettes? So, people are kind of leaning more towards it every day, it seems like. And I think Ohio is an amazing place for vaping because of how many smokers there are. Ohio is such an industrial state built around beer manufacturing and a lot of industrial workers were smoking.
Vapor Haus is located at 617 Watervliet Avenue in Dayton, Ohio. Please stop by and visit Chris and his crew when you’re in town!
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