KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — When Nicole Hogan opened her vape shop last year, she had no idea how quickly her e-cigarette business would take off.
“It’s blown up,” Hogan said. “We’re getting ready to open our second location in Oak Ridge.”
She owns Lucky Duck Vapors in Kernersville where she makes and sells more than 120 E-liquid flavors along with the tanks used to smoke it.
“You’re buying straight from the manufacturer,” Hogan said.
But Hogan fears that ‘shop local’ philosophy may soon change now that Reynolds American purchased Lorillard, making them a tobacco mega power with big plans on taking over the e-cigarette market.
“Electronic cigarettes are huge right now so of course, the big tobacco companies would want to take a piece of that,” Hogan said.
But it’s a piece she thinks will come out of her pie as a small business owner.
“When you have a big huge corporation come in and mass produce stuff, it can hurt us,” Hogan said. “It is a concern.”
Reynolds America launched its new e-cigarette brand Vuse in June.
Anti-smoking groups fear the new merger will ramp up marketing which some say is targeted at teens.
“What we’re most gravely concerned about is the marketing around youth,” said Sarah Fedele, director of marketing for the American Heart Association, Triad chapter.
It’s a concern Hogan says she can directly control being that she owns her shop and sees each customer in person.
“We ID everybody that comes in,” she said.
It is that kind of one-on-one service that made her start her business which she hopes she’ll be able to keep.
“This shop was opened up here because I grew here,” Hogan said. “This is my hometown.”