By CRISTIN REECE
One of Palestine’s newest businesses is using the newest technology to help people beat one of the unhealthiest habits.
Palestine native Chase Calloway recently opened up the Voltage vapor shop, at 3117 W. Oak St., to give people a healthier, cheaper alternative to smoking cigarettes. The shop offers a selection of e-cigarettes, through which smokers inhale atomized nicotine-infused water vapor; all the necessary accessories; and as many as 14 flavors of “juice” or the nicotine-infused water needed to make the vapor.
“I’ve been tobacco free — it’ll be a year in October,” shop manager Sloane Tetrick said. “I was smoking and dipping heavily, and when I decided I wanted to quit, I tried the gum, the patches, before I tried vaping. Now it’s almost getting to be like a hobby for me, with all the new products that keep coming out — kind of like when people collect fine wine or enjoy a Cuban cigar.”
Calloway said every food-grade ingredient in the juice Voltage sells are FDA approved and he’s proud to say many of the products his shop offers are 100 percent made in the USA. He is also extremely adamant about not selling any of his products to anyone under the age of 18.
“If you’re under 18 don’t even come in — it’s not going to happen,” he said.
Voltage also offers personalized step programs for its customers who’d like to use the method as a way to quit.
“It’s just like the patches,” Calloway said. “We can adjust the nicotine levels to what the user wants, whether they’re trying to quit or just enjoying a puff.”
Palestine residents and friends Mandie Sherrill and Jackie Quick are already loyal customers.
“We both wanted to quit smoking,” Sherrill said.
Quick agreed and said, “We were smoking at least three packs a day, each. But not anymore.”
Sherrill added, “We’re both full believers. If it can help us, it can help anyone kick the habit.”
Voltage staff will help people find the right equipment and demonstrate how to use it for people new to vaping. Complete vaping starter kits start at less than $30.
“Our equipment runs from very simple to really high-tech — we’ve got an e-cigarette that tracks how many puffs you take, the duration of those puffs and the amount of nicotine you get in each puff — it even features a digital clock,” Calloway said. “We’re not selling what you’d typically get at your corner gas station.”
Calloway, who also currently works in sales at a local new car dealership, said he always wanted to own his own business.
“My grandpa used to own the Pontiac dealership here, years ago, and my mom opened up Shoes n Such, too,” he said with a laugh. “I guess you can say I’ve got entrepreneurship in my blood.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of knowing I’m helping people either kick a harmful habit completely or at least giving them a healthier option.”