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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. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    It's not Denmark... It's China. LOL

    I know there IS a shortage of stuff coming in from China to suppliers and distributors (not to mention a slew of holidays that f-things up). They place an order, and are lucky that 1/2 of it arrives (and they're left with excuses from the Chinese mfg.). It's just the way this business works. It runs on catch-up. Either they have a ton of something arrive, or it's slooooow getting it in (and it's worse when an item is really popular). They don't tell you that they're sending you short either.

    Many of these businesses don't order direct from China, especially when new, they rely on a distributor in the states because of MOQs. That's where the fun comes in for their stock when the distributor gets shorted in their order, they can't fully supply all the B&Ms and website sellers that order from them. Other shops do double duty as a distributor, web presence and brick & mortar shop. It's all quite complicated.

    No seller can predict what's going to sell out in a week anymore with the surge in popularity in vaping and certain new popular products. :blink: Social media feeds on the sales and product information feeds and reviews fuel all that sudden demand. I've been searching for a stupid Ohm meter for attys for weeks. I've hit every single website out there. Nobody has them. So, I wait... RBAs/RDAs caused a run. I wasn't in the early race. Oh wells... Eventually I'll get an email that one of them has them back in, and I won't hesitate to haul hiney over to order. I wanted it yesterday. LOL

    I understand that it's frustrating for new vapers. Us oldies are used to it cuz we've kinda grown along with it. LOL Sometimes if you really want/need something, you may just have to go shop China yourself. I get my heart's desire that way and usually it's way cheap. New places like FastTech and old school Chinese vendors like BestECig, HeavenGifts or EastMall can usually get you what ever you need pretty quickly, as long as there isn't a holiday involved. Good luck there in figuring THAT schedule out. LOL I quit worrying about it, order and when it gets here, it gets here (pretty much).

    I think it's sad when someone bashes a place that doesn't have exactly what they want. But I get the frustration. Sometimes we expect Walmart when we walk in somewhere. All things, all the time. But really, we should all be damn thankful that if we really need liquid or SOMETHING to vape with, it's usually available within a 15-20 minute drive for most people around here, regardless if we've got to pay $2-5 more for it than from somewhere yet another 20-45 minute drive away. Overhead/employees are killer on prices in these shops. Just part of the dealieo.

    When I started there were 2 suppliers in Phoenix with starter kits/batteries/atomizers/liquid and 2 suppliers that only sold Dekang liquid. Period. Not a single walk in place other than some slimy tobacco/head shop with REALLY high prices and no idea what they were selling. LOL :ohmy:

    Dammit now I feel like an old vaper. LOL I'll get out of my "when I was your age" chair now. I hated that *@!( as a kid... still do. bwahahaaa
     
  2. Cheechako

    Cheechako Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 11, 2012
    Arizona
    My experience with Zikwid was pretty negative and not based on the products on their shelf but the attitude of the staff.
    Hi-Tec and Butt out were not well stocked with equipment, but the attitude and eagerness of the staff made me spend myhard earned dollars to support them instead of China.
    I order many items through FT, but I also try to support local B&M with my money and referals.
    To paraphrase Ghost Busters movie line,
    "I'm a consumer, don't you have to kiss my butt?".
    I'm like that with all face to face transactions at any store, be it hardware or groceries.
    I expect some service and considerationin exchange for my business and will pay more to get it sometimes.
    I won't support a store that sells vaping supplies simplybecause they do,
    they have to meet the criteria I set for all stores.
    And B&M's being the ambassadors for the vaping community, eventhough they maybe in for the money still gets folks involved and started vaping.
    I read these reviews of the newer vapers and amthrilled that they had a positive experience
    with a local B&M to start and/or expand their vaping experience and vote for that store with their hard earned money.
    Well, off my soap box and back to regularly scheduled programming...
     
  3. Josh Pierce

    Josh Pierce Full Member Verified Member

    Jul 5, 2012
    Avondale,Az
    I have to agree with everyone else about Zikwid and Butt-out. Those are the only two that I've really been too since I like to get my stuff from Desert Vapes at the meets and my rebuilding supplies from Craig at Kidney Puncher (it's nice that he frequents my office so I can have him bring stuff when he comes). I tried to stop at the Zikwid in Tempe but due to construction and rush hour I gave up on that attempt. I do stop by the one in Glendale and I have to agree with everyone that the service is kind of blah. Once in a while I come across someone in there that's nice but generally it feels like your annoying them when your in there. The atmosphere was great and it's still not too bad even after the remodel. But overall, I really don't like any of the juices they have (been spoiled by the plume room apparently).
     
  4. surreal

    surreal Full Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Glendale, AZ
    I have to give a shout out to Dave at Desert Vapes. They've got the best customer service I've encountered either online or in person. I talked to Dave yesterday about a warranty issue. The replacement was in my mailbox TODAY! That's just awesome in my book.

    I really, really like dealing with Hi-Tec for most hardware but like Josh, I'm been spoiled by the Plume Room and have a hard time enjoying any lesser juice.

    Off-topic, I was seriously disappointed with my Ms T's juices when they finally arrived. The "Danish with apple"
    was decent, but not "Top dollar, wait 3 weeks for it" decent. The snickerdoodle starts putting out harsh almost acidic vapor halfway through a tank and I end up dumping it. Bleh.

    I still hit the Glendale Zikwid on occasion. I don't know if they have high turnover or just a huge staff. The first 6 months I was vaping it seemed like the same folks were pretty much always there. On my last 3 visits I haven't seen any of the same people behind the counter twice.
     
  5. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    I don't know what happened yesterday, but it looks like it wasn't a very happy 4th of July in the VIP forum. It's sad to see some great contributors gone or leaving, as it has been a treat talking to all of you over the last month getting engaged in the local vaping community.

    Anyway, I'm still not quite sure what completely went down but it appears there were problems with one shop was getting promoted too heavily? I did contribute to that thread, but only as a satisfied customer. In any event, rather than arguing about what already happened I would like to know how to stay within the rules while still continuing to get good information on the shops in our local community.

    Since single threads on a specific store seem to be the root of the problem, would it be reasonable to have a single thread dedicated to discussion on all shops. That way people can talk about experiences at a shop or multiple shops. I don't mean it to have to be this thread, but something similar that we could all have an ongoing dialogue to not only enrich our experience but to allow future members the privileges I had when reading prior reviews.

    Just my two cents...
     
  6. patkin

    patkin Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Arizona USA
    I don't know what has/is going on. My only contribution is experience with Zikwid in Glendale in November last year. I spent a hefty amount there for nothing special... just drip tips, juice and cartos... but won't be returning unless absolutely desperate. The store itself was fine but I've gotten more sales attention and product knowledge from a clerk at Walmart than I did there.
     
  7. SpinDr480

    SpinDr480 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Jun 9, 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    By the way, we are very lucky to have two great online venders in the Valley...Craig from Kidney Puncher and Dave from Desert Vapes...I have bought stuff from both. When I haven't been to lazy to get off the couch, I do their local pick-up option to save on the shipping costs.

    Going into the General and Beginners Forum it amazes me how many people don't have vaping options locally. Between the different B&M, online venders and favorable vaping laws/ordinances, the Phoenix metro area appears to be on the cutting edge of this industry. I'm just hoping more places expand someday further in the East Valley (Gilbert/Chandler) area for the sake of my gasoline :)
     
  8. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    Don't really know either, except a few of us got a little to fanatic with the thread. Knowing myself, being I can get confrontational I am just stepping into the background here in this sub-forum. Just got up yesterday, seen 2 threads closed, like okay, whatever, then I don't know what happened. Friendly environment kinda got chilled off real quick. So before I go off making snide quips and such to get myself in trouble, I'm just going to lurk and chime in from time to time. Anyone wants some advice, don't hesitate to PM me here, on my YT or DeviantArt (MrIMFire3605 on DA), but you'll see in Matt's store generally on Fridays and Saturdays in the afternoons, there or Hi-Tec and Ghost's new store, and when I can get the time off, some of the Central and West Side meets if want to talk face to face for advice, re-coiling Protanks/Evods/T3's and Vivi heads with micro-coils and such.
     
  9. Hellen A. Handbasket

    Hellen A. Handbasket Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    You're right about the problem being a single supplier discussed thread.

    I hope you'll all continue to post, take time to understand ECF's rules (they are what they are) and have a good time in here. It's good for other members to hear of liquids you like or a place that gives good service or has good prices. It just can't turn into another single vendor discussion thread per ECF rules.

    If ECF and the rules aren't for you, then please consider coming over to the Facebook group www.vapinginphoenix.com.

    Thanks guys.
    Vicky
     
  10. Magan

    Magan Full Member

    Mar 28, 2013
    Mesa, AZ
    Aside from a few different online shops, we are primarily local-only shoppers. I'm afraid my reviews are going to, sadly, have repercussions but I really value other people's opinions of places before I go so I'll offer my own honest opinions of the shops we have been to so far. Since I'm going to note the things that are important to me personally then my reviews might get kind of long so you might want to top off your tank & find a comfy chair if you decide to take the time to read them...

    -Vapor Vortex- I cannot say enough good things about this shop because it's one of our favorite. We love every single guy that works there & it's our go-to shop for almost everything. They have been getting lots of new flavors/vendors in lately so if you didn't find any juices you liked before then be sure to check back. Not only is Chris starting to make his own juice but he also carries JVapes & even has some JVapes that are made specifically for his shop so you can't get them anywhere else. I *think* I saw somewhere that he has Hot Rod juices now too but we haven't been by there in a couple of weeks so I may just be imagining this. They also have rebuildable classes there pretty often & my girlfriend loves being able to learn this in a hand-on setting. All of their juices are in tanks so I love being able to get a true taste of something before I buy it & they are more than happy to let you sample until your heart is content. They're very kid & lounging-around friendly & they have good prices on their stuff. They have a new location opening soon so that is exciting. The downside to this shop is that most of their flavors are fruity & since I'm a bakery-type lover then I have a hard time finding what want to vape for a long time.

    -Vape Escapes - If you haven't been by this shop then you're definitely missing out. They have some of the best juices anywhere & really good prices. I'm not a big JVapes fan (please don't throw stones, it's just not rich & sweet enough for me) so the Vape Escapes & Pink Spot juices are my absolute favorite. If they carried Plume Room then I doubt I'd need to go anywhere else for what I like. They have their flavors in tanks to try & they love letting you sample them all & are happy to help you find what you are looking for. The downside is that they don't have every flavor in the shop to try but if you know there's something you want then they'll get it for you pretty fast. I also can't say enough good stuff about the employees because they are all awesome. They make our 11 year old daughter feel welcomed when we bring her with us & that makes us happy. They have a seating area, TVs, & some games so they definitely seem lounge-friendly. They also have a unique theme & seemed to spare no expense with the level of detail that they put into designing their shop.

    -AZ Vape Club - We went there the first time recently & we really liked it. The owner & employees are all really friendly & welcoming. We didn't have our daughter with us this time but I would assume they are kid-friendly since his young daughter was helping out behind the counter. She is so cute & eager to help. :) There is plenty of seating so they seem welcoming to folks wanting to just lounge around & vape their brains out. They have LOTS of brands that you can't get anywhere else locally so it's great to get to try new stuff. The only downside to this shop is that you need to use a dripping atty to try the flavors. At most other shops they have each flavor set up in it's own tank so you can get a genuine taste for them. I loathe dripping atties because that's not how I vape & they always taste burnt to me so I never get a true sense of what the flavor tastes like. They are a new shop so maybe the "flavor bar" will come soon but don't let that stop you from dropping by because it's definitely worth a visit. I did appreciate that he left us alone to sample on our own so I didn't feel like I was in a rush or needed to pretend to like something that I didn't like. Their prices are fair. Some stuff was cheaper than other local shops & some stuff was more expensive but either way, they seemed to have a lot to offer.

    -Butt Out - We have always liked Butt Out but we are over the childish drama so we are staying away from there for a while. If you don't care about the drama then you should give them a try because they have great products & prices. It did concern me when they first got everything in to start making their own juices because I asked a couple of basic questions about the juice that they intended to make & they acted like they would just figure it out as they went along. Personally, I don't want to be anyone's guinea pig so I try to stick with tried & true stuff. We did try out many of their flavors in the shop when they first started making them & they were all REALLY good but we didn't buy them since our favorites were tank killers. I think they've changed their recipes though & they are all/most tank-safe now so it's probably worth trying out again. Butt Out has plenty of seating & almost every time we have been in there have been folks lounging & vaping so it seems like a good place to go hang out. I do have to LOL because it's so obvious that it's a “fan boy” when someone posts about their staff being so friendly. We have sent a lot of friends by the shop & they all have the same opinion that we do regarding the staff. Matt has always been really nice & helpful to us, which is the only reason we would go, but the other guys we have dealt with just rub us the wrong way because they aren't friendly *at all* & seem to be annoyed most of the time. I can't say I blame them because they get asked the same questions over, & over, & over, & over so I'm sure they get sick of answering them but like I said, it just rubs us the wrong way. I don't expect someone to kiss by butt but I would very much appreciate it if they didn't huff & give me an attitude when I ask to try a flavor or have a question about a product. I will definitely give bonus points for the equality sticker in the window! It was the first thing that we noticed when we visited the first time & since we rarely see any local support, it meant a lot to us personally.

    -Zikwid - This was one of the first shops we went in & I can't really think of a lot of good or bad to say about them. They have a very “commercial” vibe, as opposed to a local, friendly type one. The first time we visited we were helped by a really awesome guy (sorry, can't remember his name) & he seemed really knowledgeable but the next few visits we were helped by some young girls & they didn't really seem to know what they were talking about at all & even the simplest of questions, like what's the VG/PG % of a particular juice, seemed to stump them & leave them cluelessly looking at each other for the answer. If you're going in as a seasoned vaper then you should definitely stop by because they have lots of different liquids but if you're new & want to ask questions then you should go somewhere else or wait until one of their more knowledgeable staff members are around. The last time we were in there you had to try the flavors in an atty & so I ended up buying a bunch of stuff I thought I liked but once I got it home I realized I didn't like it at all. They might have changed this though because it's been a couple of months since we have been in there. I don't remember any seating in there so I'm not sure it's lounge friendly. They seem to mostly have fruity flavors so if you're wanting bakery types then you might be out of luck. They're also pretty expensive on their vape gear compared to other local places. (Editing this post to add that we have only been to the Tempe store. It's right off ASU campus, which might explain the younger, clueless staff. I figured I would specify this because I forgot that they have a main location in Glendale, which is probably staffed by different people so I don't want my opinion to be a blanket one since I haven't been to the Glendale store.)

    -Synergy - I try to be fair when it comes to reviewing a shop but we visited this one a few times & we just really, really don't like it because we were treated like crap every time we went in. Don't let my opinion stop you though because I definitely think everyone should make up their own minds but personally, I'd spend my money somewhere that doesn't treat me like I'm an idiot. They do have a lot of juices to try & the last time we were in there you had to use an atty but I think I remember him saying they were going to open up a “juice bar” at some point but it's been a while since we were last in there so I can't vouch for if this happened or not. They also have some seating so I think they welcome loungers.

    - Kidney Puncher (online shop) – We love Craig! He doesn't have a B&M store but he will meet you with your order. He mostly has vaping “stuff” but he has a ton of it & really good prices. If you sign up for an account & check out the “AZ Locals” page, he has lots of different Ms. T's juices. These are some of my absolute favorite so it's really exciting to me that I can get it locally. When he meets us, he never hesitates to sit down & spend a little extra time answering questions or showing us some of the new stuff he has gotten in. He only sells stuff that he personally would use so you can expect good-quality products when you buy from him. He also has coupon codes all of the time so this helps with at least taking the tax off of your order & I appreciate this.

    - Desert Vapes (online shop) – He has a large presence in the local community & seems to be at the meet ups so I really appreciate that he shows his support to the community. I appreciate a local vendor who appreciates local customers. He has tons of vaping stuff & really good prices, too. He also makes his own juice & has a bazillion different flavors. I've bought a few of them & they're a little too “light” for my liking but my girlfriend & coworkers we have shared them with all like them. I'll admit that I'm big on sweet, sweet, sweet & strong, overpowering, flavorful juices & few brands meet my sweet tooth but it's definitely relative so I think people should give him a try because you're bound to find a flavor (or a hundred) that you like. He doesn't have a B&M shop but he will meet you with your order or he can bring it to the meet up (and you'll get a 15% discount!). He also offers coupon codes a lot so this is a big bonus. Did I mention his prices? Very good deals!

    These are the only shops that we have been to locally & I know we still have plenty more to try so I've enjoyed this thread & seeing what other people have to say about the shops. We work weird hours so hopefully soon we can give the other places a visit.
     
  11. afullmargin

    afullmargin Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 25, 2012
    Arizona
    I've got to say, I was up in Prescott today and stopped by J-Vapes Lounge and was totally blown away. Amazingly comfortable atmosphere (I have some social anxiety issues and didn't do to well on either of my visits to Zikwid in Glendale - I just kinda felt Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman... I have money! Take my money... or not...) and everyone was super knowledgeable. They helped me figure out some stuff about attys that I was having issues with (and even offered to teach me how to use a RBA when/if the time comes!) and I was there for at least an hour sampling AMAZING juices (I seriously bought way too much... erm...) and never once did I feel talked down to for not knowing about things some people think are just "basic knowledge" and they were just really cool people to hang out with.

    They were even out of their 6mg Yellow Submarine juice in the giant bottle (because I love that stuff like crazy) and one of the guys ran over to their lab to mix it up and I was able to pick it up (and peek into their very nice looking lab) on my out of town.

    Really, super cool if any of you are ever up North. I am just really blown away by my experience with them and even if I can't get up there when I need to I'll definitely be ordering from them online.
     
  12. Jackstraw

    Jackstraw Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 30, 2012
    Out West
    I bought my initial set up at Zikwid, Glendale. Although I buy most of my supplies elsewhere, I do go in somewhat regularly when I need something. They know me as a somewhat regular. They are just not friendly. They are boarderline rude and almost talk down to people in a condescending way. I know their prices are not the best, but I'm still happy to go in when I need something. The problem is when I ask a question and would like something explained to me. They are put out to help.
    If I know what I want I'll go in and get it, but I'll never go in and ask for help on something. Nope, got that out of my system at that place.
     
  13. patkin

    patkin Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Arizona USA
    Oh... good! J-Vapes is in my territory. I didn't know they started up a B&M... did contact them via email months ago and they said they would deliver... very cool! Thanks!
     
  14. afullmargin

    afullmargin Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 25, 2012
    Arizona
    NP! They're over on Iron Springs RD by the laundromat across from I believe the Safeway (may be Frys, brain is kaput at this point), but easy enough to find. I really enjoyed my experience there, I'm in the stretch of not much between Phoenix and Prescott but I'm up there enough I'll definitely be spending a good deal of my vaping dollars there. I've got all the love for a place where I feel comfortable.
     
  15. Magan

    Magan Full Member

    Mar 28, 2013
    Mesa, AZ
    Cheechako, have you looked into replacing the iClear 16/30 coils? I'm an iClear fanatic (I like C5 & C6s, too.) & I've heard that this is possible but I haven't looked too much into it. I did notice on FastTech that they sell pre-coiled wicks (maybe not the technical term but I never claimed to be a technical kind of person) that are 3 for like $1.81. I'm about to leave for work so I can't check right now, but I'm almost certain that the brief description says they're the replacement coils for C5, & C6 type tanks so I would guess (again, I may be wrong) that they could be suitable for iClears as well. I added a pack to my last order just to check them out but since they're so stinking cheap to buy replacements for on FastTech then I'll stick with those for now. I wish they had iClear replacements but they don't right now so I stocked up on C5s & C6s plus wicks since that's what they have & I haven't noticed a difference. My girlfriend hates the C5/C6 tanks because she vapes thicker, wick-killing juices & she feels like they gunk up on her faster but I haven't noticed a difference. My C5/C6s are still going as strong as my iClear 16s so they're equal to me.

    Ignore this if you're a vaping professional & I'm full of crap because I'll admit I don't know much about the technical side of vaping, I just figured I would see if you had looked into this since you mentioned that you liked them. Maybe I should have started a new post or at least did some homework on this before I posted? :blink:
     
  16. IMFire3605

    IMFire3605 Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    May 3, 2013
    Peoria, Arizona, US
    DesertVapes carries the iClear16/30 heads, and a local online only vendor, Kidney Puncher, another AZ Online vendor carries only the iClear30 heads.

    O_O, and hawd dern, DesertVapes is now carrying T3S bases and heads =D. But 2 weeks to late for my last order lol -_-
     
  17. Cheechako

    Cheechako Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 11, 2012
    Arizona
    Thanks for the heads up!
    I rewick and recoil my evods with cotton since trying the iclears...
    Tore one apart to see if I could rewick and/or recoil and doesn't seem possible.
    Loved the vapor production of the iclears, just hated having to buy new heads, they don't cost much,
    but I'm a cheap miser!
     
  18. Jackstraw

    Jackstraw Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 30, 2012
    Out West
    I visited Vast Vapers today on Mill Ave, Tempe. The owner was very nice, very helpful with questions, and the store had a very comfortable appeal to it. I will certainly go back for supplies as I need them. I have a different regular supplier, but Vast Vapers will serve me well in town as a back up. She has lots of different devices and mods on display and is able to describe a lot of detail about each one. She carries 3 lines of e liquid.
     
  19. Magan

    Magan Full Member

    Mar 28, 2013
    Mesa, AZ
    Ok, we've had the pleasure of experiencing 2 other local vendors this weekend so I thought I would add them as well.

    Hot Rod Vapors - They do not have a storefront but a couple of the local stores do carry their juices & they have a website as well. They were at the Eastside meet up & brought some of their stuff for people to try & buy. I picked up the Redline Lemonade & it is absolutely delicious. Very unique & WOW! The GF picked up the butterscotch flavor (crap, the name is slipping my mind) at AZ Vape Club & she has been vaping on it for days. They are sweet people, their liquids are a really good price, & they seem genuinely happy answering any questions that you have. He is a chef so who better to trust with your palate than someone who knows their flavors? She seems to have a magical Get 'Er Done stick that encourages him to whip up great juice.

    Crystal Canyon - Located in Queen Creek. She doesn't have a B&M but we ordered online & received it the following day. The GF loooooves coffee & chocolate flavors & I'm pretty sure she has gone through about a gazillion different ones in a search for some that she enjoys. So far she has found a few that have been really good but we were both blown away by the coffee & chocolate liquids from CC. First off, they are clear! Clear? Yes, clear. That's unheard of. Secondly, the taste is absolutely amazing & unlike any other chocolate & coffee liquids that we have tried thus far. I'm terrified we are going to find out they're actually made from asbestos extract or something because they seem almost too good to be true. For the record, I'm sure they're perfectly safe, I'm just kidding because I cannot believe how accurate, rich, & delicious they are. These are the first chocolates that she has found that I would personally vape.
     
  20. patkin

    patkin Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Nov 6, 2012
    Arizona USA
    Thanks... I can't find either website.
     
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