With the aroma of vape wafting through the air paired with the unmistakable sight of faux palm trees lighting up the shop, Hillsdale’s very own Vape-n-Chill not only provides vape to its customers, but builds community among locals as well.
According to its unwritten but well-understood mission statement, Vape-n-Chill’s goal is to wean people off nicotine while getting to know them on a personal level.
Vape-n-Chill, which opened a little over a year ago on W. Carleton Road selling Goose Juice, encourages people of all ages to stop by for a vape and for some conversation.
The shop boasts a friendly lounge area of two couches, a booth, a chair, and not one but two faux palm trees.
After working at Mr. Darcy’s, a former Hillsdale vape shop, for over 10 years, Paul Taylor was ready for a change.
After dissolving his partnership at Mr. Darcy’s, Taylor partnered with Nick Gallup, as part-owners, forming Vape-n-Chill. Taylor and Gallup are both co-owners, with Taylor as a silent partner and Gallup as the only in-store employee.
Gallup said they were able to bring the established customer base from Mr. Darcy’s to Vape-n-Chill.
One customer, Alvie Sackett, said that after shopping at Mr. Darcy’s for a few years, it just made sense to start going to Vape-n-Chill.
“I live nearby so that made it real convenient to come here,” Sackett said.
Despite what may seem like a strategic location near a college, Gallup describes their demographic as anyone from ages 18 – 60, claiming there really isn’t any small, target audience for vaping.
Gallup said most customers are former smokers who are using vaping not only as a hobby but as a way to get off nicotine.
“The goal is to get people away from smoking,” he said. “The main goal is to get them less addicted.”
For this reason, Vape-n-Chill doesn’t carry any pods or devices such as Juuls. What sets apart Vape-n-Chill from other competitors in Hillsdale is its specialization in just vaping as opposed to a variety of smoking, as provided by a big competitor, Wild Bill’s.
One Hillsdale College junior said that she prefers Smokey Joes, another vape shop in town, because of the wide variety.
These other types of smoking, Gallup said, only further people’s addictions.
“I want it to be a safe environment for people to come and vape and talk to others who are going through the same thing,” he said.
Gallup emphasized fostering community as a big part of his role in the company. His job description consists of the usual things: checking inventory, placing orders for more vape, and cleaning the glass which he said gets atrociously dirty due to the constant flow of vapor.
But aside from the technical tasks, Gallup said his favorite part is getting to hangout and help customers. It’s something he finds “extremely rewarding.”
“I like to get to know my customers,” Gallup said. “And not just know about them but know about their friends, parents, and pets too.”
There have been no major issues and that business is going well despite lack of major advertising Gallup said. He attributes their success in their first year of business to the loyalty of their old customers and great word-of-mouth advertising.
According to Gallup, Vape-n-Chill has no plans on changing a thing. He will consider possible future expansion but, for now, everything is going smoothly.
“I can see myself staying here for a long time,” he said.