Franchise Players: A Franchisee Explores the Developing Field of Vapor Stores
Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. This week, we’re profiling young entrepreneurs: franchisees under 30. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email email@example.com.
Kicking off this week’s Franchise Player’s young entrepreneur’s is a franchisee in a young field: vapor stores. While Nathan Renschler was, and continues to be, a tobacco outlet owner, the growth of e-cigarettes and the related vaping community offered him an opportunity for a new type of entrepreneurship. Here’s what he’s learned as one of the early arrivals in a budding field.
Name: Nathan Renschler
Franchise owned: Palm Beach Vapor in Newburgh, Ind.
How long you have owned the franchise?
We opened in January, 2014.
Franchising reduced the burden on me to develop processes, to build up buying power and to layout a store top to bottom. With other ongoing endeavors and a family at home, it just made sense. This franchise has been warmly welcomed by the vaping community here. People love how organized we are and the high level of customer service they can count on.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was and am still a tobacco outlet owner and rental property owner. I saw the trend moving away from traditional tobacco. It was time to make the transition.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
It was the only one. Angie, Chip, & Cynthia, Palm Beach Vapor’s founders, convinced me after several talks since June of 2013 that they were a team worth joining. I haven't looked back since.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$20,000 Franchise Fee
$3,000 First and Last month’s rent
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Most of my research was done by visiting dozens of vapor stores. I would see what was working well and what wasn't working so well. I contacted every supplier I could and got wholesale pricing information. A lot of this was done late at night on Skype with Chinese hardware suppliers. After a relentless pursuit of knowledge and information, I found that having a team of people to constantly monitor everything was well worth the royalty.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
I really have none to speak of. I signed a lease and was open a month later. Angie Stokes was here on-site for a week to assist in interviewing potential staff members, training new hires, and laying out the store. Our hard work has already began to pay off.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Ask lots of questions. You need to know why their system is a worthwhile investment. Call them and email them relentlessly and expect timely responses. If your potential franchiser is actually mobilized to begin franchising, you should expect a highly professional team of individuals that tirelessly works to implement and constantly improve their system. Anything less would be unacceptable and you should run!
What’s next for you and your business?
Potentially store No. 2 and No. 3. Perhaps an area development agreement with Palm Beach Vapor for Indiana. Time will only tell.
Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor.