Wellness retailer eyes West Michigan market
A retail chain that focuses on health and wellness is looking at the Grand Rapids market.
Palm Beach Vapors founder and CEO Chip Paul said the company is looking for a franchisee in Grand Rapids because the market size and demographics match up with that of its home store in Oklahoma.
Palm Beach Vapors does cater to those looking to quit smoking with electronic cigarettes, but also to the medical delivery of nutraceuticals, oil- and water-based medications and medical cannabis.
The store was started when Paul and his wife and co-founder, Cindy, were looking for a way to quit smoking. They settled on electronic cigarettes, but they were not fans of the poor customer service and general concept.
“We hated the retail aspect of it,” he said. “They were so edgy and head-shop-like. It wasn’t comfortable for a guy in his 50s.”
So the Pauls started their own shop and saw success, and now have found a way to create a healthier product. The Pauls both have health and wellness backgrounds and said that’s where their focus lies with Palm Beach Vapors.
“We want to drive healthy solutions,” he said. “We’re targeting medical uses.”
Vapor liquid systems generally have four ingredients, including propylene glycol, which the health care industry has yet to agree is medically safe. So Palm Beach Vapors helped develop GnuVape, which is a proprietary liquid with kosher protein.
Paul said the company has 17 stores, with two more that will open soon and another four that are in the development process.
Grand Rapids has yet to see the e-cig boom other markets have seen, and Paul said he’d like to see a franchisee get set up before that boom happens.
He said a Palm Beach Vapor franchise costs approximately $75,000 to start, which includes a $25,000 franchise fee and $50,000 make-ready package, which includes enough initial inventories to make the investment back.
“We’ll open in Grand Rapids in a heartbeat,” Paul said of the market.