by Martin McConnell
Puffy’s Vapor Lounge branched out and became a local chain recently, adding a new location on Atterbury Boulevard in downtown Hudson. This marks the lounge’s second location, with the first on South Arlington Road in Akron.
The shop specializes in all things vaping and e-cigarettes, and aims to help each customer find the perfect vapor flavor for them. Whether it be e-juice, disposable e-cigarettes or more long-term vapor machines, the shop carries a bit of everything.
“[We sell] anything and everything vape related,” owner Nick Bianco said. “From disposables to salt nic to old-school mods, we specialize in vape-related products. Also CBD, tobacco pipes, and anything else you might find at a smoke shop.”
Puffy’s has become a fixture of the vapor and smoke shop community within the Akron area since first opening in early 2020. Despite the pandemic, the original lounge was able to survive, and eventually thrive, which left room for expansion into Hudson.
“The pandemic and shutdowns were devastating,” Bianco said. “We had to close for nearly three months. All of our employees were waiting about that long to get their unemployment. It was a really difficult time as a business owner, community member and father, but thankfully we were able to successfully traverse those waters and remain open.”
Puffy’s aims to make customers feel at home within the shop. The lounge relies heavily on social media marketing, where it advertises many weekly specials, such as Salty Sunday and Mod Monday.
“We try to utilize social media as much as possible,” Bianco said. “As a millennial who spends time on social media, it’s definitely a great way to reach and engage with your target audience.”
To some, downtown Hudson could seem like an out of place location for a vapor and e-cigarette shop. But much like in Akron, Bianco believes the shop’s knowledgeable staff will be able to easily slide into the town’s business ecosystem.
“We love the vibe of downtown Hudson. There were several locations we looked at before settling on Atterbury Boulevard,” Bianco said. “Why a vape shop? Because that’s where our experience and expertise lies.”
The owners are just as hands-on with the business as any of the floor workers, he said, and that family feel is important to the shop.
“This is as mom and pop as you get,” Bianco said. “While this is our second location, we are not a franchise or affiliated with any of the other big chain shops in the area. We believe this gives us a leg up on competition, because we can respond directly to the customer. There’s no red tape or hurdles, and the owners are directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.” ∞