Ask the Expert – Vic Skinner at E-Vapor

21 February 2018

Vic Skinner, E-Vapor (North East), the Bridges

WHEN Vic Skinner wanted to open a shop selling vaping products in the North East, Sunderland was his first choice.

Having previously lived in the city for more than 30 years, he decided that it was the perfect base for his new venture, supplying vaping equipment and products.

He opened his city centre shop in December 2014, after research revealed the North East had a higher number of smokers than the rest of the UK.

“The figure for the country as a whole was 26 per cent of the population were smokers, whereas up here it was 32 per cent. Our business is based on stopping people smoking by opting to vape, and for me, Sunderland was the perfect location.

“I knew the city well, and I knew we had a high percentage of smokers, so I felt we could really make a difference here.”

With Sunderland pinpointed as the place to be, Vic then had to choose the perfect spot for his shop.

“I could’ve saved a fair bit of money by going out into the suburbs but I wanted to be in the city centre. I knew the footfall there was so very much greater, so it was always going to be worth it.

“I went for the Bridges because I calculated around 1000 people walk past each hour, and there was always a good chance that many of these were going to be smokers who could benefit from a vaping shop here.”

Three years on, Vic has opened a second outlet in Gateshead town centre, which he says is all down to the success of Sunderland.

Each day the Sunderland shop welcomes both new and returning customers, with people heading in to try vaping for the first time, or to pick up their favourite liquid.

“We use only the highest quality liquid and people often get a shock if they’ve used the cheaper stuff. We give people a free taste of all our liquids at the bar, so they know what they’re getting.”

So does Vic see a future in the city? “Definitely. I’m very impressed with the investment being made in Sunderland city centre now, places like the Vaux site, Keel Square, the newly refurbished Fire Station.

“For us, Sunderland is perfect. The people are great, the city centre is improving all the time and thanks to its success, we’ve been able to branch out into another town. We certainly plan to stay and I’d advise other small businesses to do the same.”