Help me stock our new tobacco section at the store!

Hey Dopers,

I’ve been playing with the idea for awhile, the demand seems strong enough, and i’m finally going to pull the trigger and set up a tobacco section at the new location.

We are going to start out small and grow it if necessary.

I think i would like to start out with the top 10-15 cigarette brands/flavors, but not being a smoker, and really not knowing anyone who is, i am completely lost.

My distributor has 53 different kinds of Marlboro available, plus probably 500 more varieties available.

What brands and flavors do you guys think would be a good starting point?

Surely your sales rep knows exactly what sells best.

As i found out with my beer distributors, a lot of the reps are forced to push certain products, whether or not the retailers can do well with them.

I am in no way a smoker. However, I do have questions…

Will you be handling other tobacco products, like pipes, cigars, snuff?
Will you be handling shisha?
Are you in a legal area for cannabis, and if so will you be handling it?
Do you have to satisfy various retail display requirements? (For example, in Ontario retailers can’t display tobacco or tobacco advertising at the point of sale.)

I was going to have bulk tobacco, and roll your own supplies.

My state does not have legal majiuana, and the laws are pretty relaxed as far as advertising goes.

Do a generic brand, also. If you run in for something else and need smokes and generic is your ‘brand’ it’s maddening to not have that choice. So that’s gonna make some peeps go to bigger retail outlets. There are several cheaper cig brands. Go in a smoke shop and ask what sells best. It’s probably gonna be Marlboro, Winston, Kools, Newport. Lights and regular strength.

Who better to ask aboutpopular cigarets than the Centers for Disease Control!

This site may be clickbait, but a resource is a resource.

I’m beginning to see why there are 53 brands of Marlboro.

And this study talks a little aboutethnic preferences.

Around here, vaping seems to be replacing tobacco as the nicotine delivery system of choice, but that opens up a whole new bunch of choices you’d have to make.

Wow. Your morals will let you do this?

As far as a income producer, I don’t cigarettes will do anything for your bottom line. You have to keep the prices close to what every other retailer does, or you won’t sell them. Not much profit room. They also have a shelf life.

The way i see it, all i am doing is creating an option.

Yeah, it’s not like you’re selling leaded baby formula.

Didn’t we have a thread like this a couple years back?

I would say ask your customers what brands/varieties they like and maybe use them for most of your space. From what I see around work Kools, Native American Spirit, and Camels are good choices.

Fifty-three varieties of Marlboro? Holy shit. When I quit smoking about 15 years ago, I just remember red, lights, ultra lights, and menthol versions of these. And I assume unfiltered. (The only unfiltered cigarettes I remember smoking, though, were Camels and Lucky Strikes.) Oh, wait, mediums also showed up at around that time. I can’t even imagine 53 possible varieties! (Well, then again, there were also the 100s versions of all of these, I think. And are we counting hard pack vs soft pack? So maybe we are close to halfway there, then if all those versions count.)

Anyhow, I’d get the basic Marlboros, Camels, and American Spirits, and then probably Kools, and then one or two cheaper brands (or at least they were cheaper when I smoked) like Winston, Pall Mall, or L&M.

They had to come up w/ new flavors of Marlboro to attract children.

I do not smoke cigarettes, but once or twice a summer I’ll grab a pack of those Backwoods little cigars. Oh, and those individual flavored cigars; some of my friends buy those to make blunts.

And what about a disposable vape offering?

People who start buying cigarettes from you will do so for a reason - otherwise they will keep buying where they do now.

What’s their reason?

People that choose to legally buy and use tobacco are making a personal choice. Remember those? They are ultimately responsible for their own actions and choices.

Tobacco doesn’t harvest itself, then dry itself and roll itself into cigarettes then shove themselves down your throat.

Back when I smoked, Newports were my brand of choice. Menthol, but not a blizzard to your lungs like Kools or Salems. Also, I think you’ll get more foot traffic if you sell pipe tobacco and cigars, and their associated accessories. There’s definitely a prestige and cool factor there. But your volume will come from cigarettes.

Also, vape products and tobacco products under one roof is rare around here (excepting gas stations which sell cigarettes and disposable vape pens, but not much else). You could be a one stop shop for smokers and their ex-smoker buddies, or have loyal customers continue to patronize your shop even after they quit cigarettes. That combination could make you stand out from the competition.

Don’t forget Chewing tobacco. There are a number of places near me that only carry cigarettes but when I do use i’d prefer to chew. Of course I prefer Levi Garret but for some reason chewing tobaccow is going out of style and harder to find.

It also doesn’t formulate itself to become as addictive as possible, pay for it’s own advertising(both overt and covert), or pay off Congresscritters to look the other way.