How to open a smoke shop in 10 easy steps

Step 1

Find a location for your smoke shop. The location is extremely important, as it can make or break your business. You will want your smoke shop to be easily accessible to customers and easy to see from nearby roads. Rent or purchase your store location from the owner.

Step 2

Research the licensing laws in your state regarding the sale of tobacco products. Most states require you to carry a specific license for selling tobacco products in addition to a business license. Apply for a retailer's cigarette and tobacco license if necessary.

Step 3

Create a name and logo for your smoke shop. The name of your shop should relate to the products you sell so that potential customers are not confused about what kind of business you own. Your logo may be a design or simply your store name with a font that you like. Apply for a business license and register your business name and logo through your city's chamber of commerce.

Step 4

Contact sign-making companies in your city and hire one to create and install a sign on your storefront that advertises your shop name and logo.

Step 5

Purchase all of the equipment necessary to run your smoke shop. This includes display counters, shelves, a cash register, humidors for cigars and a credit card machine. You may also consider purchasing chairs, end tables and ashtrays for customers if your state laws allow smoking inside. This will create a pleasant, welcoming environment that will make customers want to spend time in your shop.

Step 6

Purchase the inventory for your store. If you are opening a general smoke shop, purchase a wide variety of different types of cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products. If you are opening a specialty smoke shop, such as a cigar shop, purchase a wide variety of different cigar types to cater to the clientele you want to attract. In addition to tobacco products, purchase tobacco accessories. Lighters, cigarette cases, ashtrays and tobacco pipes are a few tobacco accessories to consider carrying in your smoke shop. Also consider carrying hookahs, shisha, electronic cigarettes, chewing tobacco and other types of tobacco products to maximize your inventory so that your shop appeals to a wide range of customers.

Step 7

Create a written financial plan for your smoke shop to help you keep track of your shop's finances. Consider the costs of renting your location, utilities, store inventory and paying employees. This way you can figure out how much your store needs to make in order to turn a profit. It is also important to note that tobacco products are heavily taxed by the government. Include taxes in your financial plan and also be sure to deduct these taxes and turn them over accordingly as your business grows.

Step 8

Determine what days of the week and what times your store will be open for business. Create a sign advertising these hours to post in your store window.

Step 9

Set up your store for business. Inventory should be well organized to allow your customers to browse easily. Make sure that your store setup complies with fire safety regulations in your city.

Step 10

Hire employees to run your smoke shop. It is important to note that you must be 18 to sell tobacco products in the United States.


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