When the vaping craze started to take off, Johann van Noordwyk identified a gap in the market for a new business

Johann van Noordwyk opened Lung Candy, a shop that sells electronic cigarettes, liquids and accessories, on Norwood’s Grant Avenue in 2016 after the runaway success of his online shop.

How did your business start?
I’d worked in advertising for 18 years and I was a smoker. Then in 2014, I switched to vaping and saw a gap in the market in my neighbourhood for some sort of vape business to service the area. We launched the online store in 2015, stocking online local brands and products, and people could come and collect their purchases from my house, and we soon realised that there was potential to open an actual shop as well.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
I live in Orange Grove and, as a vaper myself, I knew that there wasn’t a nearby shop from which I could buy vaping products. Also, we had an existing local customer base from the online shop’s collections already. We knew we wanted to be on Grant Avenue because over the past years it has bloomed into a really vibrant community.

How did you find your premises?
We started location scouting in March 2016, but couldn’t find a suitable space. Then in October, two options became available and one was perfect.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
When our customers came to the house to collect their purchases, they used to hang around and have coffee and a chat. We wanted the shop to have a similar sense of space, and the premises we found were 100% right.

Who are your neighbours?
We are next door to 47 on Grant, the Turkish restaurant, and a cellphone shop on the other side. But we have the whole Grant Avenue strip on our doorstep with its great restaurants and coffee shops.

What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
We compared the prices with other neighbourhoods like Parkhurst and found that, for a busy high street with great retail space, Grant Avenue is extremely competitive. Our shop rental doesn’t cut into our margins, and everything just makes sense.

How many people go through your store each day?
On weekends, we get between 20 and 30 customers a day, but it’s gone as high as 60 at our busiest time.

Do you have any expansion plans?
Definitely. There are vape shops popping up everywhere. So perhaps we’ll open a second store in Gauteng this year, but we’re also looking at smaller towns where there’s demand.

Do you operate online as well?
We started as an online store (lungcandy.co.za).

What’s your most popular item?
Starter kits for people going from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.

See for yourself:
Lung Candy
083 260 4159
lungcandy.co.za

 

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