Vape store opened to help smokers
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015
For years, Picayune businesswoman Belinda Dudziak tried various methods to cure her addiction to cigarettes.
She tried everything from drugstore electronic cigarettes to Zoloft, Wellbutrin and Chantix, smoking cessation medicines.
A chance encounter changed her life and health forever and inspired her to open Picayune’s Big Time Vapes.
“One day I walked outside a convenience store and saw these men vaping,” she said. “They let me try it and I felt like I was smoking, so I started researching.”
She purchased her first kit and soon after put them in her store, The Sign Shop.
Due to the success of the new item, she decided to open a store dedicated to vaping.
“We’ve helped thousands quit smoking,” she said. “We have a Facebook group page where people post copies of their success stories, along with X-rays.”
Dudziak said her shop has been inspected by the health department and currently has an A rating.
All e-liquid sold at Big Time Vapes are made on site and contains only USA made ingredients, Dudziak said. Popular flavors include key lime pie, jolly nerds, butterscotch custard, Mike’s Ice melon balls, and who knew cheesecake.
After hours and hours of research and testing samples, Dudziak now offers about 250 flavors, which can be combined to make new ones, she said. Staff can also create a custom flavor.
Depending on the smoker’s preference, staff use a medical pump to insert the precise amount of nicotine into the liquid, she said
“Customers can choose the amount of nicotine, then taper off to no nicotine, just flavor,” Dudziak said.
Big Time Vapes is home to a variety of vaping kits for beginners to competitors, she said. A starter kit includes a tank, a charger and battery. The larger kits vary in size, depending on how sophisticated a customer wants his or her setup, she said. Prices range from $9.99 to about $300.
Dudziak also sells charms for the devices, vape bands, cases, lanyards, holds and personalized tips.
There are also cost savings to vaping, she said. She said she spent about $200 a month on cigarettes but a heavy smoker can spend about $50 a month when they switch to vaping. A light smoker will spend about $30 a month, Dudziak said.
Along with saving money, Dudziak said she felt better after switching from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes.
“It’s an awesome and effective tool,” she said. “You feel better and don’t wake up hacking and coughing. I’m super proud we have helped so many quit smoking.”
It’s a family affair at Big Time Vapes. Dudziak’s daughter Erika Forbes and Dudziak’s sister Reba Hook also help create flavors and wait on customers, who are also like family, Dudziak said.
Big Time Vapes is located at 711 Memorial Boulevard and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 11 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
Contact staff by phone at 601-337-6466 and learn more through Facebook at The Sign Stop’s Big Time Vapes.