Orono residents were surprised this past week by a new business downtown. The regularly empty building located at 24 Main St. has a new owner — and it’s not what this town would expect.
Everything Vapes opened its doors quietly Saturday, Oct. 24. Manager of the vape store, Jaimee Batchelder, has high hopes for the shop and is excited to spread the word throughout the college community.
“There are two vape shops in Bangor, Vapeway and Vapology,” Batchelder said. “A lot of the clients there are college students. The vaping community is huge on the West Coast and it just recently has been brought over to the East Coast. The people that are bringing it here are the students, so why not give them something right here so they don’t have to travel for their products?”
The Orono Everything Vapes is one of five stores. Two are located in Delaware and two are in Pennsylvania. Batchelder is currently working on opening a store in the northern part of Maine to reach students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
The e-cigarette juice is made in-house in Delaware, where it is bottled at the store’s local bottling facility.
Everything Vapes will have many deals that are posted in the store’s Facebook page, including UMaine Mondays, where students get 15 percent off their purchase by showing their MaineCards. Tank Tuesdays will feature 10 percent off tanks.
As for competition, the local vape shops are more of a community.
“We are good friends with the owners of Vapeway,” Batchelder said. “We don’t want to be a cutthroat competition. It’s a vaping community and we have to stick together. If we divide, we are not going to make it through.”
The vaping industry’s largest competitor is the “big tobacco” trade.
“The worst thing is the tobacco industry trying to put out false knowledge,” Batchelder said. “That’s our hardest part — getting people the proper knowledge, and getting people to listen to and believe what we are saying.”
Bangor Public Health and Community Services has just recently launched their anti-vaping campaign.
“[Opponents] are trying to call us a tobacco product, but that’s not what we are,” Batchelder said. “We are a healthier alternative to smoking. We offer something healthier that has significantly less chemicals than normal cigarettes.”
There are three main ingredients in the e-juice that is sold at Everything Vapes. Vegetable Glycerin, Propylene Glycol and nicotine. The flavoring is also added to the mix.
“All ingredients are mixed up, steeped to build flavor, and you put the juice in your tank, it heats up then releases it,” Batchelder said. “There is no second-hand chemical. Once it goes into your lungs and you exhale, there is no second-hand smoke.”
Batchelder wants people to know that there is a healthier alternative available. She had smoked cigarettes from the time she was 12 years old until about a year-and-a-half ago. Through research and the workers at Vapeway, she was able to decide that vaping was, for her, a healthier choice.
Everything Vapes will host its grand opening Nov. 14 where there will be a DJ, cloud competition, cash prizes and more.
“We’re not just a store, we’re a lounge, too,” Batchelder said. “I want people to know that they don’t have to come in and spend money every time. If people want to come hang out and vape, this is a warm and welcoming place to do that.”