The Vejp store Light Your Fire on Hisingen in Gothenburg is closing down. This is now clear after the owners informed the customers via their social media. The reason is high rents and difficulties in finding new premises in the area.
"Among other things, we were told by a landlord that they "do not rent to nicotine businesses". At the same time, they seem to have no problem renting to convenience stores that sell cigarettes," says owner Christian Brandt.
Light your fire's store in Vasastaden was the first vejp store in Gothenburg in 2016. The store guided many curious Gothenburgers into the world of e-cigarettes and a year later they also opened a second store in Kville on Hisingen, a larger model. In both stores, they sold both its home-made but also imported juicesas well as vejps, coils and all sorts of other accessories.
'We were one of the first on the ground, but it wasn't long before other shops popped up in Gothenburg. Although vejpningen was in its infancy, we were able to share customers. As e-cigarettes became more well-known, we helped create a small market," says LYF's founder and owner. Christian Brandt.
Corona and high rents
In 2021, the store in Vasastan had to close again. According to Christian Brandt it had a hard time recovering from the restrictions. during the coronavirus pandemic. The larger store on Hisingen then became the company's bastion in Gothenburg. But now it too is being closed down.
"The truth is that we have looked around at other premises as well. But we haven't found anything suitable. This building still costs 65,000 a month, and we've had it for six years. So there are large sums in rent that simply do not add up," Christian Brandt tells Vejpkollen.
Policy and insurance
In addition to the high shop rents in a large city like Gothenburg, there are other factors that has worked against the organisation.
"There is a lot of regulation creeping up on the whole industry. The insurance companies want certain regulations and we are subject to the same legislation as ordinary tobacco products. With the insurance companies, it's about wired alarms and so on to be able to get a reasonable insurance, and that costs a lot of money," says Christian Brandt.
Don't want to rent to "nicotine business"
For the time being, all plans for a store in Gothenburg have been put on hold, but Christian and his wife Pamela Brandt, who run the company together, searched long and hard for another location.
"We actually found a slightly smaller one in the same area that would have been a good fit. But the owner there did not want to give access to nicotine activities, they said. So they have a lot to think about, I mean, as they have regular kiosks selling cigarettes in their properties" sighs Christian Brandt.
Uddevalla and the online shop
The original store in Uddevalla, which is also Lyf's lab and warehouse, will remain. There are also problems with insurance - but at least the rents are lower than in Gothenburg. Otherwise, it will be online sales that will be used as an extra gear.
"Yes, we will put even more effort into that now. Simply have a larger selection. We have been hovering a bit between the floor and the ceiling there, not having too much or too little. But now we're going to do some restructuring."
E-cigs more available today
Gothenburg residents who want Light Your Fire's range will have to order from now on. The city has two or three other stores left, but it is still quite small for the country's second largest. But Christian Brandt doesn't think it's because fewer people are going to vejpa in Gothenburg.
"No, I don't think so. E-cigs are spread out there and so on. But disposable vejps are starting to be available in every newsagent now, so it's probably become a thing too. Availability means that it competes and many people choose the easily accessible."
Whether this will lead to a wider trend of fewer serious, specialised e-cig shops is hard to say.
"We don't know what the future holds for disposable e-cigs. But we should also think about the environmental aspect, with plastic and batteries and other components that are simply thrown away. How far should it go?" asks Christian Brandt.
"Creating a void"
Fililp Jansson, which worked in the Hisingsbutiken since the start in 2018, believes that the closure will create a void among those who vejpar in Gothenburg.
"We have between 50 and 100 customers per day over a month. Many are regulars who come back month after month. There are also some older people who may need more help than others to get the vejping, both devices and e-Juice, to work, what should they do now?" says Filip Jansson.
What has been the reaction from customers?
"Everyone we tell has been very upset. There are other shops in town that we refer them to. But I suspect that many of the customers who live here have neither the time nor the energy to go into town to buy their stuff. So the disappearance of the store clearly leaves a void here on Hisingen," says Mr Jetteleds. Filip Jansson to Vejpkollen.