I went on a little business trip to Chicago this week and, of course, contacted Steve & Mark to ask if I could come for a visit. As you would expect from reading their posts, they immediately welcomed me.
Steve really is a man on a mission and he has recruited an army to help him. You can't sit in the room with him without feeling his passion to help people to get off the cigs.
He is all about making all of his products perfect and keeping us happy (even the PITA customers). While I was there, I couldn't help but hear little bits of a few telephone conversations with customers. What little I heard (trying hard NOT to eavesdrop), was genuine concern and a desire to help.
He was full of stories about things that have happened, are happening and what he has planned. One of those is his ideas for a battery mod that will be a dead cinch to rock our vaping world.
He reminded me several times to bring my camera in from the car, but I was having too much fun visiting & walking around the candy store. Of course, I'm kicking myself now.
Mark is as warm, friendly, and funny as anyone I've ever met. By the time I left, I felt like we'd been friends for years. I was not aware that his wife, Christie had been "roped" into helping. It seems that ever since she came down for a visit in November, she has been asked to come back every day. She's a very sweet girl and, like everyone else, works her tail off.
I didn't get to spend much time with Mariano because he was so busy, but he was very friendly too.
I was also introduced to Melanie and Bill. There truly is a family atmosphere there and I was instantly accepted as part of that family.
As I walked around looking at everything on the shelves, it seemed like I was always standing in someone's way. They were all running around and filling orders like crazy. I think Mark said they filled 150 orders that day, which is a lot for a Thursday.
After a while, I had to ask Mark for a piece of paper, so I could write down what I wanted. I spent way more money than I intended to, but I'm not a bit sorry. Of course, they still thew in a few extras even though I told them I wasn't there for freebies. It's just the SMILIN way of doing business.
I want to thank the entire V4L team for the warm welcome. I really enjoyed my visit and hope I wasn't too much of an imposition. I stayed longer than I intended, but I was having too much fun. It really felt like home.