By CRISTIN REECE
If one sets a precedence, then two starts a trend — and Palestine’s newest business has established the area’s newest trend in nicotine consumption.
Freedom Vape vapor shop, the second business of its type in the area, opened its doors to local smokers this month and owner/operator Jennifer Sutton said she’s thrilled to help her neighbors kick the smoking habit for good — or at least help them find a viable alternative to the unhealthy habit.
“Nicotine is not good for you,” Sutton said. “And neither are bacon cheeseburgers. People want what they want and we are able to give them a better, healthier way to smoke and give those that want to quit another way to do so.”
Sutton said her shop not only offers its customers everything that’s needed to vape (use e-cigarettes) — including nearly 40 different flavors of “juice,” the nicotine-infused liquid that supplies the vapor — Freedom Vape also features a homey atmosphere to encourage new customers to linger for one-on-one service to help them feel comfortable about the product and its use.
“My husband and I have been using e-cigarettes for probably three years now,” Sutton said. “But it’s still a pretty new trend — I still get crazy looks when I use one out in public.
“That’s why we offer our lounge area, complete with Wi-Fi, and soon, refreshments. We want to make people feel comfortable about what they’re getting and educate them on the products themselves.”
Sutton said every food-grade ingredient in the juice she offers is FDA approved and her staff will help people find the right equipment, demonstrate how to use it for people new to vaping and will continue to work with customers to find the right nicotine level for them.
“You have to customize your level, so it works for you,” Sutton said. “And that’s what we want, to make it work for each of our customers, whether they are trying to quit or just looking for a healthier way to smoke.”
Complete vaping starter kits start at less than $30. Freedom Vape also offers e-cigarettes in several designer colors with coordinating lanyards to help keep smokers’ e-cigarettes right at their fingertips.
“We’ll even set it up and refill them for customers, if that’s how they want it,” Sutton said with a laugh. “We want to make it as easy as we can for people. I want simple, I think the customers want simple — so we’re keeping it simple.”
New customer Lorry Shannon, of Palestine, appreciates that level of customer service. She purchased her first vaping kit at Freedom Vape.
“I’ve tried to quit smoking for so long,” she said, voice thick with emotion. “It’s hard. I’m a 30-plus-year smoker and now I’ve got COPD, chronic bronchitis and asthma. I tried Chantix too, but it just didn’t work. For me, it’s the habit of having something for my hands to do.”
Having smoked cigarettes for most of her adult life, Sutton said she’s familiar with that and other pitfalls of trying to kick the habit. That’s one of the reasons Freedom Vape offers juice with zero-nicotine, all the way up to 24 milligram dose of nicotine.
“It makes you feel good to know you’re helping people get healthier,” said store manager Theresa Allen, who is also Sutton’s mom. “I’ve actually teared up at some of the stories our customers can tell. It’s nice to know we’re helping.”
Freedom Vape vapor shop is located at 321 E. Spring St., Ste. 107B in the Kroger shopping center, in Palestine. Check out their Facebook page for details on various store discounts.