It was late 2012, and the weather had just turned bitterly cold. Despite the frost-bite warnings blanketing local media, I still found myself huddling against the warmth of the external siding of my heated garage, desperately determined to finish every last inch of my cigarette. On the other side of the wall, I could hear the almost inaudible sounds of my husband; seated under the heater that brought the garage temperature up to a balmy 20 degrees, he was surrounded by the swirls of the sweetest smelling “smoke” I’d ever known – I was later to learn that it was called “Swedish Pastry”, and it was billowing from the tip of an impressive new gadget that he had picked up online a few weeks before. Enter the (now much aligned) E-CIGARETTE. Now, four years later, my husband works for the most lucrative e-cigarette business in Alberta – possibly even Canada – and I am proud to say that in those four years, though the battle was sometimes fierce, I am now vaping in my home office as I write this.
When River City Vapes opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 2013, it was a quiet little shop located in a developing Edmonton neighbourhood. Through consistent hours, instant customer retention, and what sometimes seems like a never-ending knowledge of all things vape, RCV has risen to become one of the most popular e-cigarette businesses in the province.
With the continued increase in business (which one might equate to the rising number of people who are quitting the “stinkies”), River City Vapes was first able to move to a new, larger location, and within two years, expanded to a second shop in the Windermere business section just off the Anthony Henday Highway. With a continued presence in the vaping community, the owner and his dedicated staff team have increased traffic to both locations, with the majority of RCV advertising seen on social media.
Beginning with a Facebook page that quickly accumulated a dedicated community following, RCV has added a Twitter account, and more recently, River City Vapes TV on YouTube. RCVTV is run entirely by employees from the company, and includes tutorials, reviews, and snippets of daily shop life from the Windermere location.
Participation in e-cigarette forums has proven to be a popular way to connect vapers from across the country – at one time, forums were the only way this small collective could discuss their new hobby, and swap flavour suggestions and the odd piece of e-cigarette hardware.
Lessons for Others
Aside from the ever-constant lesson of “SMOKING KILLS!” (Which I of course was completely aware of prior to the invention of e-cigarettes), I have learned that having dedication to a cause and, in this case, a product, is vital to the growth and retention of a company. While it is easy to set up a Facebook page and Twitter account, these two media platforms along with YouTube, require a large amount of time and work in order to keep the posts and videos current and present in the social media blur that swirls around us on a daily basis. With the popularity of e-cigarettes ever growing, it is not hard to imagine that countless other vape shops will spring out of the ground all across this city – but being one of the first companies on the scene, and continuing to provide quality customer care and an excellent return/exchange policy is key to sustaining a business. Fresh content, innovative video ideas, and the ever-present RCV beard (you will see these frequently in RCVTV videos) continue to make River City Vapes the most popular and successful e-cigarette business in Edmonton.
Besides… it’s awfully difficult to light your beloved beard on fire while vaping…
River City Vapes - Edmonton
Industry: Retail, Online Retail
Name of Organization Contact: Shawn Kreeger, Owner
Authored by: Maura Penn
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
River City Vapes, 2016. [online] Available at: <http://www.rivercityvapes.com/> [Accessed May 30, 2016].