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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ballantyne Brands LLC, makers of the NEO brand of electronic cigarettes, reached a distribution deal with The Pantry Inc. to sell the former’s products at more than 1,250 Kangaroo Express convenience stores. This marks the first time the NEO brand has been sold through a retailer.
"With more than five years of retail experience in the electronic cigarette industry, we pride ourselves in offering our customers the best retail experience possible," John Wisehan III, Ballantyne Brands’ vice president of sales, said in a press release. "Having a partner like The Pantry underscores our effort in being a brand consumers and retailers trust. Likewise, we are committed to offering quality products at an affordable price."
According to the companies, the NEO brand began appearing in the Kangaroo Express stores in December.
“NEO was a clear choice when making a supplier decision in this category,” said Jennifer Eaton, category manager at The Pantry. “As the leading convenience store operator in the southeastern U.S., we have to be certain the product we offer is of the best quality, and is at a price point that is attractive to our customers.”
Electronic cigarettes are an alternative for traditional tobacco. As previously reported from the Convenience Store News 2013 Tobacco Summit, e-cigarettes are seeing rising numbers in the tobacco category and are part of the changing face of tobacco retail.
Ballantyne Brands distributes e-cigarettes to thousands of retail outlets across the country. Its NEO and Mistic brands are available in both traditional tobacco and menthol flavors with rechargeable and non-rechargeable options.
The Pantry Inc.'s portfolio is comprised of 1,572 stores in 13 states under select banners. Kangaroo Express is its primary operating banner.