Vapors firm targets Reno
An Oklahoma-based e-cigarette business has targeted the Reno-Sparks market as one of its early locations for franchise growth.
Palm Beach Vapors, headquartered in Tulsa, thinks Reno and Sparks could support three to five franchised locations, says Chris Paul, co-founder of the company.
The company estimates the cost of launching one of its stores at about $75,000 — a figure that doesn’t include working capital or real-estate. Palm Beach Vapors charges a $20,000 franchise fee and provides what it calls a “make-ready package” that includes inventories, signage and fixtures for $49,500.
Paul said the company’s stores typically are located in spaces of about 1,200 square feet in what he described as “daily-use strip malls.” A store typically serves a population about 20,000.
Palm Beach Vapors opened its first store in March of 2013 and launched the franchise model in December. The company currently has 14 stores open, largely in Oklahoma, Texas and the Southeast.
Paul said the company positions itself in a different space from e-cigarette retailers who often have an edgy, head-shop feel.
“Our stores have a beach-like feeling, warm and inviting,” he said.
The company targets consumers who want to use its vapors system to quit smoking. It notes that about 18 percent of the U.S. population smokes, and the e-cigarette business currently posts worldwide retail sales of about $3 billion a year.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.