Salisbury Vape Shop Owner Ceases Illegal Sales After Trading Standards Crackdown

Following an exclusive investigation, a vape shop in Salisbury, owned by Ersoy Kachmaz, was found selling illicitly-sized vapes, shedding light on the challenges small businesses face in navigating legal compliances. In October last year, Vape Point, an extension of Juice Point which opened its doors on August 9, 2023, was caught during a routine inspection by Trading Standards for displaying illegal vape products prominently on a top shelf. Kachmaz, 53, admitted that his lack of awareness and reliance on a wholesaler’s advice led to the oversight.

Initial Discovery and Response

Ersoy Kachmaz’s encounter with the legal boundaries of vape sales began serendipitously when a Journal reporter managed to purchase an illegal vape from Vape Point. This incident prompted a Trading Standards visit, revealing Kachmaz’s unintentional transgression. The shop owner attributed his mistake to misleading advice from his previous wholesaler, who emphasized the sales potential of these larger, yet illicit, vapes. Kachmaz’s decision to change wholesalers and his cooperation with Trading Standards by handing over the illegal products underscore his commitment to compliance and ethical business practices.

Challenges in Compliance and Business Survival

The case of Vape Point illustrates the broader challenges small business owners face, particularly those with limited English proficiency, in understanding and adhering to complex regulations. Suna Walker, the business partner and operator of Juice Point, highlighted the struggle to sustain the business, especially during the winter months. The decision to sell vapes was seen as a necessary move to support the juice shop financially. This scenario underscores the delicate balance small business owners must maintain between compliance and economic survival.

Shifting Business Strategies

In light of the incident, Mr. Kachmaz has ceased the sale of illegal vapes, focusing instead on products that ensure customer retention through legality and quality. The experience has been a costly lesson in the importance of thorough product vetting and the pitfalls of relying solely on supplier recommendations. Vape Point’s shift in business strategy reflects a broader trend among small businesses to adapt rapidly to regulatory changes and market demands, emphasizing the need for better support and resources to navigate legal complexities.

The incident at Vape Point serves as a cautionary tale for small businesses on the risks of non-compliance and the importance of due diligence in product selection. It also highlights the need for clearer guidance and support from authorities to help businesses thrive within the bounds of the law. As Vape Point moves forward, its focus on legal compliance and customer satisfaction may well set a precedent for other small businesses navigating similar challenges.

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