Wow, it’s been 10 long years of excitement and hard work in an industry that has helped so many people transition away from combustible tobacco but has been under attack by so many misguided groups. In our hearts, we know how many cigarette smokers we’ve converted, and we’re damn proud to have been able to help so many people so far.
Can you imagine, Madvapes all started from making 510 connectors out of a home office. I didn’t start out trying to make connectors but the first e-Cig I bought broke on day 1. Frustrated I found plans for a box mod, but you had to tear apart a working 510 e-cig to make it. I didn’t have a 510 e-Cig and wasn’t going to buy one to tear it apart so I found the parts to make my own connector and shared the plans on how to make one on ECF (e-Cigarette Forum). People wanted them but didn’t have the tools, so I made some and sold them.
That was the start of what is now AMV Holdings LLC dba Madvapes, which has grown to over 500 employees, 120 stores in US, Germany and Ireland, e-liquid manufacturing facilities and multiple distribution warehouses. It’s just such an amazing dream come true.
I can certainly not take credit for the success of the company, there has been so much help along the way. Wonderful employees who work tirelessly to make sure they do the best job possible to make it all happen.
I’m really humbled by the hard work and dedication of so many individuals, some who have been with Madvapes since the beginning when there were only 6 shelves in a hot NC garage, struggling to get out 20 orders a day. It’s been a long ride.
I still recall the first warehouse that I rented. I was terrified but my entire house had turned into a warehouse of sorts with yellow taped boxes lining almost every free wall in the house. I needed to find a spot to continue the business from but sign a lease? I had never done that before.
My first office/warehouse was 1200 square feet. This unit was in a strip of 12 similar sized units. We quickly outgrew the first space so Madvapes was able to lease another space and then another, until we had a total of 6 of the 12 units in this building. As people moved out or space became available, we’d grab another 1200 square foot unit. By the time Madvapes had 6 units, the landlord suggested we move out since he was unable to rent us more than 6 of the 12 units in the building.
Even at the start, from my garage, I was amazed at the number of people who would show up to buy items since they didn’t want to wait for shipping or wanted to get started right away. We’d spend hours talking to them about this great new technology, which at the time was 510’s, 901’s 801’s and box mods. Most of the e-Liquid was from China back then but we started to manufacture our own e-Liquids in late 2009.
We kind of had a mini store in one of the warehouse units but parking was tough and the other tenants were getting angry about not being able to park at their own businesses since our customers were taking their spots, so we started to look at opening a real store.
A retail store to me was a terrifying idea, I mean another lease, employees, insurance and expenses was just a crazy dream. With a wife, 2 children, a mortgage and bills, if this didn’t work out, I was going to be in big trouble.
There was a Cigar store in a strip mall in Charlotte, NC where unfortunately, the young man that owned the Cigar shop had just passed away in an auto accident. The store sat vacant and his wife and brother were a bit hesitant to sub lease it since it meant a lot to them as they had recently put a lot of hard work into it with handmade shelving units and a humidor room. When we met with them and told them our idea about a vape store, they liked it and agreed to lease it to us under one condition, that when we took down the sign, which was a cool logo that said “Cigars”, that they would like to have it. We agreed as the sign meant a lot to them. Since they had just done most of the build out of the store, we were able to quickly move in and the very first Madvapes store at Smith Corners Blvd, Charlotte, NC was officially opened. The Humidor room that was there turned into our first e-Liquid Bar!
The brother stopped by one day to show how he had hung up “Cigars” sign in his garage, very touching tribute to his brother and very touching moment for us. Wish I had that picture but I’ll always have that memory and why that store means so much to me.
Fortunately, the first Madvapes store did great, but we still had a lot of people coming to the warehouse so we opened Madvapes 2, closer to the warehouse so we could direct customers there for a better experience. Shortly after Madvapes 3, 4,5 and others were opened up. The growth was amazing and still is.
Madvapes has also gone through several mergers with other very talented business owners that have not only grown our footprint but have brought tremendous knowledge, leadership and vision to a truly amazing company.
I can’t help but be so grateful and understanding of those who have undergone the same journey as Madvapes did and have decided that combined, we are a stronger and better organization with more focused resources instead of duplication.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I’d be sitting here and writing about the 10 year anniversary of the company that originally started out as MyVapes.com, but I needed to change e-Commerce websites and used Madvapes.com temporarily and never changed it back.
It’s really been an amazing journey and something that I will never give up on or ever forget. There were certainly times when I was ready to throw in the towel, but things tend to work themselves out and before you know it, a new problem replaces the old one and things get better 🙂
I can’t help but say thank you again to all the people that have made this great company happen. The support from our customers, employees, business partners and families has been truly inspiring and why I’m so proud to be part of it all.
Happy 10th Madvapes!