Hazy smoke and strange smells are once again emanating from the former location of the notorious American Eagle Collective pot shop at 2501 Colorado Blvd. suite B in Eagle Rock, which was raided by the Los Angeles Police Department in June of 2012 and shut down.
Young people are again coming in and out of the shop and purchasing smoking devices all in the name of "good health." Only this time, it's all 100 percent legal, as about three months ago, Vape Supreme opened its doors and started selling electronic cigarettes.
E-cigarettes, which are marketed as a healthy alternative to tobacco smoking, have become increasingly popular over the last year, and many shops selling them have been popping up all around L.A.
The act is not referred to as smoking, but as "vaping," hence the name. Vape Supreme manager Ryan Jefferson said many people in the neighborhood were pretty curious and nervous when they first opened up due to the shop's previous tenants and the public's general unfamiliarity with e-cigarettes.
"At our grand opening we had a lot people from the
neighborhood come on down, just to see what it was that we were doing. We had a
little bit of resistance in the beginning," Jefferson said. "But once they spoke with us and saw
what we were doing and came in a little more consistently, then they had
absolutely no problem with that we were doing."
E-cigarettes are legal to smoke indoors in many places because they are so new there are few laws against them. Many nightclubs allow them, which has helped companies market them as a hip, cool and trendy way to quit smoking tobacco.
"What we try to do as a company is really try to make it a little more trendy and market to younger cigarette smokers. We carry all the new gadgets and units, everything that you would need to stop smoking," Jefferson said.
Indeed, Vape Supreme is a place young, trendy people would feel comfortable. Loud, thumping rap music plays in the background, and there's also a DJ booth in the corner. The staff are all young and attractive, the the e-cigs themselves are customizable in a variety of colorful designs.
Jefferson said the sudden e-cigarette craze has also been fueled by big improvements in the technology.
"They refined the style, made them a lot better. One of the
major makers really did it right and came out with the perfect battery that
lasts long," Jefferson said. "A lot of them, they used to give a horrible flavor. They made it
customizable so you get your own battery and your own tank and your own flavor."
Vape Supreme offers 104 different flavors, including fruit flavors, desert flavors and candy flavors. Starter kits at Vape range from $65 to $75, and a cartridge of liquid nicotine costs around $13 and will last for several days, Jefferson said.
Vape Supreme has a second location in Orange County with plans to open stores in San Francisco and San Diego soon, Jefferson said.