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Good/Bad of Local Shops.

Discussion in 'VIP - Vaping in Phoenix' started by SpinDr480, Jun 13, 2013.

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  1. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    So far I've been to five local stores and one local online shop.

    I have been to:
    Butt Out
    Vast Vapors
    Vapor Vortex
    Synergy
    Zikwid

    Online:
    Kidney Puncher

    Firstly, you couldn't ask for a better guy than Craig at Kidney Puncher. He did same day pickup and very responsive. I will be ordering some replacement wicks from him again soon. I got my iClear 16 and eGo-v V2 mega battery for a great price.

    As for the B&M, I would have to say Butt Out is the top of my list as far as service and juice flavors available. It's also where I got my starter kit. I love the glass bottles they put their juice in much better than those little plastic bottles. The prices are tops too for local juice. I love their Rockets Glare, Chai Tea Winter, Lucy in the Sky and Vicious Vanilla.

    Vast Vapors set up is great. They have there equipment very organized in a behind the counter case. I was the first one in last Saturday and before I knew it the place was packed. The lady that was working couldn't of been more friendly and willing to help, despite being swamped. I will be back for sure for their Red Bull.

    Vapor Vortex is also a great store. I bough my ProTank there for $20, which is cheaper than most of the other B&M stores I have been too. I couldn't find a flavor their I liked though.

    Synergy I was only in for a few minutes to pick up some Toffee flavor to add to my Vanilla juice so don't have much to add. It was a quick in and out

    Zikwid in Tempe was the store I was most disappointed in. The inside of store was very upscale and nice, however it was the only store I have been to that doesn't let you try juice before buying. You have to pay for some tank first to get samples. There was a guy in their who wanted to try some as well and they were kind of rude about him even asking to sample. Anyway, it was also the only store I've been in that wasn't packed with people. I think they should change their policy, because they do have the best storefront look. I did blindly get their gummy bear juice which is good.

    All were good places, but still think Butt Out stands out above them all with Vast Vapors a close second and kidney puncher tops for local online.
     
  2. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    Well let's see from top to bottom I have visited, haven't used any of the local online shops yet, call me security paranoid when it comes to my money after being stung once already.

    #1 Butt Out - Matt and the guys here are really very passionate about what they do. Best customer service in the valley by far. They are just getting rolling, so equipment isn't as vast as others I've been into, but their juice selection and they have a juice clean room makes them my first to shop in the NW Valley area, little far for a drive, but hey. Not the cheapest on juices, but they mainly make 50/50 mixes or custom to order, don't require an s*** load of steeping. Their greatest asset is their passion for vaping and wanting to make sure their customers succeed as they have. *SHOUT OUT* Digging the new billboard Matt =)

    #2 Hi-Tec Vapor - Again another one that is a bit of a drive for me, and again just started and not a big selection. But you can't beat them with a stick when it comes to juice prices in the valley unless you go online, again another store with its own juice lab and believe they are setup to do custom PG/VG mixes of their flavors and such. Prices are good, again another store with people passionate about vaping and helping you succeed, nor are they the largest shop either.

    #3 Vapor Vortex - Stepped in and out one day, but the atmosphere felt similar to Butt Out and Hi-Tec. Will be returning as I heard they carry DIY coil supplies and several other things I want to look at on Saturday after work, so I'll update this sometime Sat Evening. Out of the top 3 this is the furthest from my house TBH.

    #4 Xtreme Vapor (Glendale Location)- Since Zikwid raised prices across the board, this is my main stop for my T3's and T4's, as well as my backup store for when I need juice asap as I love the taste of their RY4 mixed 1:1 with their vanilla for an ADV that won't kill my pocket book. Even though they only offer 10mil bottles, think buy 50mils it is like 35-40 bucks, or used to be. Like Steve's upbeat attitude towards customers, when it is slow they are friendly, they get busy, mood changes to sales sorry to say it. Still a nice shop

    #5 ECigAZ in Surprise - Little hard to get to without coming northbound on Dysart Rd, or turn north onto Dysart from Grand Ave, parking lot is always cramped -_-. Have tried a couple juices from them, owner/operated and generally slow anytime I walk in. Have gotten some good tips with Boge Cartos and good prices on cartos and 510 drip attys, closest to my house, but owner is friendly but generally in back when you walk in. They do offer Johnson Creek, Halo, and Dekang juices some decent hardware as far and starter kits and such, just hate going to them due to I either have to go down Bell Rd toward Surprise and cut through Sun City West or 107th to round about through to Grand through Sun City -_-.

    #6 Zikwid (Glendale Location) - Alright, like stated above, they are the cleanest and one of the largest vape lounges, but ughhhhhhh, they are the most expensive, offer very few liquids I like, Halo Tribecca and Tiki Juice (Overly Expensive) and a shot in the dark if it needs steeping or can vape right away -_-, their Strawberry isn't so bad in the Vapor's Choice brand, again price per mil -_-, other juices I have tried I've had to toss drip attys because of them after freshly opening the atty or carto >_>, sorry, tastes like perfume it's going to the circular receptacle. When you can get to talk to someone when slow they are very knowledgeable, heck this where I got my first real kit from, but when it gets busy they worried about $$$$$$$ more than Xtreme Vapor is, and this is really reflected in their buy before you try and recent price increases. In an emergency, *shrug*, yeh they there but currently my last choice to go to. I cringed the other day getting a co-worker onto vaping, with lack of transportation for him, tried pointing him toward Butt Out and Hi-Tec first, Xtreme Vapor next, and last told him where Zikwid was, next day he said "Wow, I didn't realize this is so expensive..." I knew he visited Zikwid -_-. Told him I'm making a round-about to couple stores this Sat after work, asked if he wanted to tag along, show him a little more about vaping and what a real B&M should be, Hi-Tec (Evods) -> Vapor Vortex (Kanthal/Ni-Chrome/Silica possibly see what APV prices they got) -> to Butt Out (juices and probably that MVP I been thinking about if they don't have an SVD on the shelves)
     
  3. Keithhesh

    Keithhesh Moved On

    May 21, 2013
    ^^^They had a few SVDs on the shelf when I went in this morning. (Matt was actually a little disappointed when I told him I just bought one from Fasttech...which still hasn't even shipped...)

    Hitec and Buttout are both tied for number 1 in my experience.

    Great customer service from both, great juice selection and hardware is always growing.

    Vapor Vortex comes in at a close 2nd because of their juice selection/ hardware/ Rba supplies and customer service.
    Only thing I have to say negative about those guys is how far they decided to open a store from me.

    Vape Escape is awesome! And 3rd for me only again because of the distance.

    Actually the only shop I've disliked was Xtreme vapors. Went in there on my first day of vaping and they were too busy to say hi for 15 minutes... was lame, at least acknowledge that your customers exist...



     
  4. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    Yeah, Xtreme Vapor, like I said, they get busy, it's money to them, but most times I've been in there they always have time to discuss things. Still compared to Zikwid, prices plus convenience plus the girls are generally friendly when not busy, Steve's a good guy to talk vape tech with, and would like to see more hardware except mostly Ego and eRoll stuff from them, it's still night and day the customer service between Xtreme and Zikwid. I rarely see Steve vape, don't know if he does, but couple of the girls do I know for certain. Good to hear Matt has SVDs on the shelves, showed them on their site, just didn't know if they had them in stock yet, they didn't last week. Like I said, I like supporting local businesses instead of shipping my money out of state or for that matter out of country to China when I can. Might be just getting the SVD unit this weekend, see how my vape budget for this check works out, if not, the MVP not because it is cheaper, that will be my at work unit mostly and see how it rocks the Evods and T3's I use at work mostly, getting dress code glares from the higher ups at seeing my Ego lanyard around my neck and battery tucked under my shirt between buttons, the MVP can at least fit in my pocket more comfortably =D, and if my 510s or cell phone poops out can charge off it and such.
     
  5. davelog

    davelog Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 4, 2011
    Phoenix
    I've been to Zikwid in Glendale, Butt Out, Vapor Vortex, Hi-Tec, and Xtreme Vapour. I frequent Butt Out more than the others because I dig the people that work and shop there, they carry my shorty cartos, and I drive past it at least once a day going to or from work.

    I used to make the trek out to Zikwid back when they had the pool table a lot, but since they took it out it's tough to justify the trip. My wife really digs their Zanilla juice, so we still get out there once or twice a year but yeah, it really isn't the same place it used to be. I'm sad to hear they don't allow sampling any more, that was a nice touch on the place.
     
  6. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just a note, the Zikwig store I went to was their Tempe location.
     
  7. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I hear ya about the pool table at Zikwid. The late night vaping animals tore it up, LOL... so it wasn't worth having it when they had to refelt it every 3 months. They used to have a Rock Band game set up too. Good times. LOL. I tested lots of liquids when Zikwid first opened, but in my own PV atty by dripping. Never knew that had changed, and of course, if you used a tank when you walked in, you were just SOL. I asked Chad about sampling last time I talked to him and he said Zikwid is setting up doing samples (with tanks?) with throw away tips in house soon. He's been around a long time (early in 2008 I believe) and is one of the original 4 vendors in AZ that wasn't scamming people with a $150 minicig kit. A shame he isn't able to be hanging in a shop anymore, and depends on employees as the face of the company. He's a good guy... with a lot of overhead, but truly gives a crap about what his customers think.

    The only other shop I've been to is the one out here in Surprise (ECigAZ). Meh... he's geared up for a new vaper who is ready to quit. Even after talking with him about everyone out here that would buy other things from him, he seems to want to keep it that way. It's ok, but sucks for those of us who want the latest toys. I suppose if I was desperate for liquid, I'd go back in there to find something.

    I do need to get out more :p and go check out some of the new places. Everyone else just is too far away for me to just jump in a car and drive to, and I usually just will buy from what ever supplier shows up at our meets once a month. LOL Dave at DesertVapes is a great guy. He's usually at the meets and is a knowledgeable and friendly guy... straight shooter. I've met and bought from Craig at our last West Side Vape meet. Also a great guy and knows his stuff. Jerry Green at Aroma (makes WTA liquids) is a long time vendor here (also from around 2008/09) and a good guy. He's damn busy though with the lab and expansion, so hard to catch up with these days. He's always been internet, but has met up and helped out new vapers by doing meet ups and delivering liquid to people in the valley for years. He pops into the meets here and there. TheECig has awesome glass drip tips and he's been to a meet and is on our Facebook group (has his gorgeous multi-colored glass tips up on eBay right now too). I've been twisting his arm to get his guy to show up this month to our meet with some.

    My :2c: is I'm just glad that there's something for everyone out there as far as a B&Ms in the Phoenix area is concerned. We're damn lucky we're well covered with as many well stocked shops and good guys as we have here. (Imagine trying to find other vapers/shops in Yuma or B.F. Minnesota? Yikes!!). Your cuppa tea for a B&M may not be mine... :) yada, yada and YYMV at any shop (especially if you walk in when they're swamped or short an employee). We all seem to fall in love/like with our first supplier that sets us up with vaping successfully and after a year or two, it can change yet again with another new guy that works hard to get your biz (since he's there in the shop doing his own sales... until he starts making bank), schmoozing customers and doesn't have employees working (or not working and ignoring you, LOL). Sad, but such is business. We all need to cut these guys some slack if they don't act like our long lost best friend every time when we walk in the door.

    I don't mind that these shops get too big for that owner personal touch, but then I don't expect Sam Walmart to come out, make recommendations and offer me free coffee samples when I shop there either. LOL I hope Arizona's vape shops all succeed to that point. We need a strong presence here in Arizona.

    Well, that was long... :blush: *puts down the RDA and the coffee* Obviously, I'm WIDE awake and I've had enuf for a while.
     
  8. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    Okay, as promised, update on my experience at Vapor Vortex.

    1 ) Atmosphere was definitely on par with Butt Out and Hi-Tec Vapor.
    2 ) Had the rebuilding supplies I wanted
    3 ) Okay, was intending to buy it from Matt and the guys at Butt Out, they had the SVD. -_- window shopping moment, now have my first APV unit along with couple 18650 batts and charger for them, waiting on the batteries to charge. Heavy, without a battery in yet, but loving the solid feel of it, and it is a beauty to look at =), think I'm set on power delivery bases for the time being. Loving the iClear 30's that came with it, will be buying more, demoting the T3's and Evods to work only vaping ^_^ :toast::vapor:

    Bumping them up to #2 and Hi-Tec to #3
     
  9. Cheechako

    Cheechako Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 11, 2012
    Arizona
    I was a fan of the Iclear 16 and 30 until I realized there was no way to rebuild them.:(
    I fI didn't have the Vamo, I would be on the SVD like a tick!
     
  10. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    Vamo was one of the ones I was seriously looking at. That and the Zmax, S.I.D, and SVD all had their strengths compared to others. All in all, got the SVD running at the moment and OMG :wub: I'm really digging it. Next purchase, some spare heads for the iClears, and seriously looking at some Vision Vivi's as next stock up on purchases. Think the T3's and Evods going to the back up drawer, loving the taste these top coils are cranking out. Though atm I'm suffering to much nic concentration trying not to chief away chain vaping on my new toys =D
     
  11. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Still waiting for my SVD to even ship *mad* Glad you have one (and like it), you'll be someone for me to ask questions to about it when it finally gets here!
     
  12. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    I ordered some replacement wicks from Desert Vapes on Friday and they had it ready the same day for pick-up. Their iClear 16 and replacement wicks for the iClear 16 are the cheapest I have found. Their pickup is out in SanTan Valley, which may not be convenient for some but I live in South Gilbert and it is closer than most B&M for me.

    I would highly recommend both Desert Vapes and Kidney Puncher if you want to support local venders that don't have B&M. For me, I will use them both again for replacement coils and tanks

    I plan to broaden my area and try out some of the other B&M this week.

    On a side note, does anyone know where to get some RY4 for good price? I got my grandpa to give up the analogs so I bought him a starter kit for Father's Day. I had a bottle of RY4 that a coworker gave me and he loved it. So I will be on the lockout for me tomorrow.
     
  13. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I can recommend Aces from (local biz) Hot Rod Vapors (RY4). Good stuff. I sucked up a sample bottle in no time and need MOAR.

    Aces

    If you like Peach flavor, the Fuzzy Dice rocks also.

    Get ahold of Kim... she can probably meet up with you. Tell her you're a VIPer, and that Hellen/Vicky sent ya!
     
  14. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks Helen, their pricing looks great I will certainly check them out.
     
  15. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Any time we can help to get a new supplier going in the Phoenix area, especially when they have really great product (like Hot Rod's line) I'm ALL for sharing info! It may not be the cheapest out there, but it's competitive and really good stuff.

    If you are looking for a specific make of RY4, or just a Dekang/Chinese brand, just let me know. I'll help you find someone with it.
     
  16. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Helen,

    I ordered their sample pack of 3. I love that option to test a few flavors without buying a whole bottle of something you may not like. I am trying their Aces, Fuzzy Dice and Redline Lemonade. Going to pick it up tomorrow and will let you know what I think. Thanks again.
     
  17. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I hope you love it. If not, I'd be happy to buy it (or part) from you at the meet so you won't be out any cash, especially since I told ya go to there, LOL.
     
  18. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Based upon the feedback in this forum, I drove a few extra miles from my downtown office at lunch to hit up Hi-Tech Vapor. Firstly, I must say you all did not steer me wrong. This places goes to the top of list next to Butt Out...Maybe Butt Out 1A and Hi-Tech 1B...(only because Butt Out is closer and my first store.

    However, Hi-Tech is the store everyone other B&M should emulate....They have so many juices available, and all organized for you to sample. In addition, you can't beat there prices...$10 for a 20ml bottle is the best I have seen at local B&M...Plus, you get a punch card and once you get 5 (which I couldn't help myself in getting 5 on my first visit) the 6th bottle is free. I felt like I walked out with twice as much stuff at half the cost. Staff was friendly and willing to let me waste her time trying new flavors...Definitely my place to go when I can take a longer lunch hour.
     
  19. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nice review (I HAVE to get out more!).

    I wish everyone wasn't sooooo far away from where I live. It sucks and forces me to internet shop (which is probably cheaper than if I walk in to a B&M and SEE stuff = $TROUBLE$).
     
  20. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    I hear ya on the windows shopping mode troubles =D. It was a hard toss up for me to bump them down to #3, but once they have the rebuildable supplies on hand and a couple more gadgets on the shelves, I'll have to bump them up to #2 again. It's a real toss up atm between them and Vapor Vortex. Closest to me, I do like though others haven't had a good experience with them is Xtreme Vapour, though you do have to visit during non-peak hours. Another gripe on Zikwid, and makes me smell trouble, they raised their prices, and I've noticed they a lot of times out of things. Would have bought an S.I.D earlier, but no charger or batt in the kit, asked about batts and chargers, only 18350s no 18500s or 18650s in stock, nor any chargers at the time -_-. Not the only things they've been out of when I visit, once they were out of T3 and protank heads, and other odds and ends disposables or miscelanious supplies they either never stock or run out of or something, something smells in Denmark as they say. Could be just me, or just my impression.
     
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