Sign of the Times: E-Cigarette Store Opens in Chicago
Even though fewer and fewer people are smoking cigarettes these days, a Chicago man thinks he’s found a growth industry: he’s opened a electronic cigarette store in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
“21 Century Smoking” is a storefront that only sells ecigs and accessories – no cigarettes, lighters or the usual things you’d find in an everyday tobacco shop. Founder Brent Duke, a former trader, says he was just a casual smoker when he was introduced to e-cigarettes, but has become a devotee and believes his business will continue to grow. He’s added mail sales and local kiosks at neighborhood festivals throughout the Chicago area as well.
With the number of vapers growing by leaps and bounds, smokeless cigarettes stores are likely to become the wave of the future. There are already a few electronic cigarette lounges, where customers can purchase e-cigs, try different products and relax with an ecig while chatting or reading; they’ve popped up in major cities like Los Angeles so far.
Advertising hasn’t brought in much traffic yet, but Duke says his business is growing via word of mouth with 80-90 percent of business coming from repeat customers. Most are former smokers who have made the switch to smokeless cigarettes, and Duke is optimistic about the future.
“21 Century Smoking” is located at 2516 N. Lincoln Ave. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.