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LAS VEGAS — Even as growth in the vapor products segment has leveled off recently, there was no shortage of vapor companies that took to the 2015 NACS Show expo floor to feature their products.
Growth has a lot to do with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the industry awaits final regulations from the agency, John Wiesenhan Jr., co-founder and CEO of Mistic Electronic Cigarettes, told Convenience Store News. "Retailers are hesitant right now until the FDA makes regulations."
The vapor industry is also still young, pointed out Todd Millard, co-founder and chief operating officer of Mistic. "The industry is still growing in unmeasured channels — vape shops, online. It is shifting," he explained.
The Mistic family consists of four brands, including Mistic and Haus. It also has Unbroken, which is a vape shop specific line, and the Craft Collection, which aims to bring the vape shop experience to c-stores, Millard said.
"The Craft Collection is a big step forward toward satisfaction. It is the first product at mass retail that is different than a pen-style vapor product," Wiesenhan said.
VMR Products is also embracing the type of more advanced products consumers typically find in vape shops now. Over the past several years, VMR has grown its business from online only to more than 50,000 retail stores including traditional gas/convenience, vape shops and tobacco outlets, according to Rafael Llopis, vice president of sales at VMR.
"Retail is limited to the number of SKUs because of space, so we take what we learn from online sales and its customer base to drive our presence at retail," he said. In testing right now is the extension of its V2 Pro to include the V2 Pro Series 7. The new product launched online earlier this year and then moved to retail, mainly tobacco outlets and vape shops.
Dune Vapor Group LLC is another vapor company bringing a bit of the vape shop experience into c-stores with its Oddfellows brand of e-liquid. "There is no reason why c-stores can’t have quality liquid instead of losing customers to vape shops," a company executive said.
Alternatives to traditional tobacco products are not limited to electronic cigarettes and the vaping segment either. Smokey Mountain, which offers a tobacco-free, nicotine-free smokeless product, has seen double-digit growth over the past five years, according to President Dave Savoca, who added “we were a tobacco-free product before it was cool.”
This year, the company is moving forward with new packaging, as well as new associations with former Dallas Cowboys standout Randy White, WWE superstar Shawn Michaels and former Atlanta Braves all-star Chipper Jones, host of Major League Bowhunter.
For more insights gained from the 2015 NACS Show expo floor, look in the November issue of Convenience Store News.