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Ask The Expert: Russell Mayes

July 21, 2020

Ask The Expert: Russell Mayes

The eJuices.co team is hard at work to help your business succeed. There are numerous challenges to owning a vape shop (or any business in general), and vape shops face many unique and interesting challenges: heavy regulation, legislation, and opposition from individuals who may not be informed on what vaping products do. We sat down with eJuices.co’s Russell Mayes, who keeps his ears to the ground on the politics of vaping as well as other issues surrounding the industry.


DISCLAIMER: eJuices.co does not endorse or support any candidate for political office. This blog post is for informational purposes that are based upon statements that have been reported by the news and media. The individual positions provided in this blog post may change over time. All opinions provided herein are the opinions of the author. We always encourage you totake action to preserve your rights to vape.


Some vapers are reluctant to visit a brick and mortar shop right now even as the economy gradually reopens. In your opinion, what is the one thing that vape shops can do to add value to their business operations during COVID-19?


While politicians say they are focused on what is an essential business and what is not,  a large problem arises when the politicians have no understanding regarding every industry and why some other businesses may be very essential. Ask yourself, why would a convenience store selling vape products be essential, but a vape shop exclusively selling vape be designated nonessential? 


The truth in this matter is that many times the line is not clear, rather it is the politicians who utilize their own circumstances to determine what makes a business essential based upon what they care about. Many times it does not matter what the facts are related to a specific business industry. So what can a vape shop do now, that things are starting to open up across our country? The main thing a shop can do is ease the fear of the public when coming into your shop. 


How do you ease people’s fear? Step 1 is to address what the media is putting out because this has the largest impact on the public’s view concerning the virus. For example, do you require masks in your store?  Can your customers order online and pick up their product at the store or curbside?  You must accept the idea that the majority of your clients will be nervous.


Store operators can also place a large sign to put in the window stating that you are following all safety precautions suggested by the CDC. This signage can prevent many customer questions and result in a better shopping experience. Stores should also have hand sanitizer stations at the door and visible around the shop so customers can use them. Hand sanitizer is not expensive and will demonstrate that the store takes customer safety seriously.


You really know the ins and outs of the politics of vaping. While we more or less know who the adversaries of the vaping industry are, who do you think are the friends of the vaping industry within Congress and the Trump administration?


When it comes to the political arena, it can be tough to tie a politician down to a particular stance.  However, we can review the actions they have taken in the past.  I have the list of every member of Congress who will likely vote against vaping based on their prior actions or statements. Here is the list of politicians working against vaping and have voiced their voting opinion in one fashion or another. 


Alabama


Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)


Alaska


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)


Arizona


Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ)


California


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA)

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)

Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA)

Rep. Harley Rouda (C-CA)

Rep. TJ Cox (D-CA)

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA)

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CA)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)


Colorado


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)


Connecticut


Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Rep. John Larson (D-CT)


Delaware


Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)


Florida


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL)

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL)

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)


Georgia


Sen. David Perdue (R-GA)


Hawaii


Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)


Idaho


Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)


Illinois


Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL)

Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL)

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL)

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL)

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)


Kentucky


Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)


Maine


Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)


Maryland


Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)


Massachusetts


Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA)


Michigan


Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)

Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)

Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI)


Minnesota


Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN)

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN)


New Hampshire


Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH)


New Jersey


Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Rep. Josh Gotteheimer (D-NJ)

Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)

Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ)

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ)

Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ)


New Mexico


Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)


New York


Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)

Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)

Rep. Pete King (R-NY)

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY)


North Carolina


Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)


North Dakota


Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)


Ohio


Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)


Oregon


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)


Pennsylvania


Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA)


Rhode Island


Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)


Tennessee


Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)


Texas


Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)


Utah


Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT)


Vermont


Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)


Virginia


Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)


Washington


Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)

Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA)


Wisconsin


Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)


District of Columbia


Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)


The power of the people still exists if you make your voice heard. Most politicians have ONE main goal, namely staying in office. If politicians don’t follow the will of the people they risk losing their seat.


A lot of vape shops have been diversifying to CBD, but many are unaware of what it can do for them. What are your suggestions for adding this product to a vape shop?

In my view, combining both vape and CBD into a vape shop is difficult but not impossible. 

Vape shops and their owners and employees are very comfortable with selling vape juice. It is easy to move and the return clientele is frequent. So this makes vaping a lucrative industry and many do not want to transition into the CBD world.


So the question still remains: can a vape shop do well with adding CBD to their inventory? The answer is yes they can. So how do they go about making money on CBD when the vape products are their focus? The biggest hurdle is understanding your product. The first thing a vape shop owner sees is the price. CBD is typically more expensive than typical vape products. So many stores will find the inventory cost increase hard to deal with financially. I would suggest thinking back when they first started a vape shop. New store operators had to understand what products sold best and how to get customers. These same needs also exist for CBD. While store operators likely know how to market to their existing customers, they need to know what products are working within the CBD space.  You can visit other CBD shops in the area or give me a call and we can discuss.  


That’s all for this segment of Ask The Expert! If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact your eJuices.co account manager or sales representative. We are looking forward to speaking with you!


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