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The shop had been buzzing for almost three years. Gavin was forced to be prudent as his temptation was to buy a new car, but Jayne kept him focussed. “We need to invest in stock, we need to build the business,” she’d say. “The world and her wife are opening new vape businesses. If we don’t do this proper we’ll not survive.”
It wasn’t easy being Gavin. For starters he would rather be fishing and on permanent gardening leave, and then he really didn’t like people either. Not the best qualifications for a customer-facing enterprise. That said, after he’d waved goodbye to the machine shop he’d made a proper fist of it. Jayne was proud. Lads like it when their Mums are proud.
From a small market stall selling CE4s and juice that could strip walls, the pair of them had built up a respectable business with long hours and skipped meals. They’d seen the pioneers, the hobbyists and the curious. From a range that could be held in a hand they now presented expensive rack upon rack of devices for all tastes. Likewise, the budget juices had been augmented with all manner of fancy bottled and labelled selection from home and abroad.
Gavin had learnt how to employ people. First of all he employed his mates who vaped his stock, then he took on some young people who preferred to stay in bed or borrow from the till before he settled upon the lovely cross-section who now run the store while he does battle with tax returns and insurance quotes. And still has to skip meals.
It’d been a journey not unlike currently trying to get from Dover to France: frustration and annoyance tempered with the knowledge that this was all a learning experience. The destination would make it worthwhile.
And then there was the satisfaction that came from what the whole thing was all about. Some businesses make their money from ripping off the NHS for medicines, others manufacture the deaths of innocent people – Jayne and Gavin sold a healthier alternative to smoking and helped people quit. They gave advice to the young and old, the fit and the informed. The pair of them slept well at night because lives were being saved, staff had money in their pockets and someone at HMRC was rolling around on a fat wad of their cash.
What never ceased to amaze Gavin was the public. There was something special about the loyalty they displayed to his shop. They’d drop in for juice, a new treat, but mainly just for a chat. And they’d be unpaid sales assistants, always willing to give advice to those coming in looking to make the switch. Always chipper, always enthusiastic about vaping.
The new law looks set to change things for small vape business owners over the next twelve months. Challenges being presented are set to be a barrier too high for many. Jayne had noted announcements on a forum with sadness, of juice makers and stores closing up. “Maybe things will be OK,” she’d tell her lad. “We’re vapers – we don’t just quit unless it’s the smokes.”
There are hundreds of Gavin and Jaynes across the country. Vape manufacturers and retailers of Britain, we salute you.