Fredericton — In an effort to seem more down-to-earth and approachable as a city, Fredericton is ensuring that at least one vape shop opens for business in 2020 on every block currently lacking one.
“Surveys show that people think Fredericton is snooty, stuck-up, and that we all think we’re better than, say, Saint John or Moncton. Which we are. But what could be more visibly low-class than having a vape shop on every street?” asked Mayor Mike O’Brien.
“I think, to help this perception a bit and attract tourists, we need to project the image that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and that we’re not all bespoke dress shoes and artisanal coffee and high-end cocktails. We can be grungy, too!”
Our reporter took a walk with O’Brien down Main Street on the north side.
“See, there’s East Coast Vape, and here’s New Beginnings Vape, we passed Brilliant Smoke Shop — up here we’ve got King Vapor and eJuice Depot,” listed the mayor, “but I think we can cram a few more in here. Most people who vape have no lung capacity and can’t just take a walk from their house to a vape shop, so we have to bring the vape shop as close to their house as possible.
“Such as this gentleman right here,” he said, gesturing toward one obvious vape enthusiast who was warily leaving his apartment, smoking a cigarette to tide him over while he poured the last of his e-juice into a juul. We asked him whether he thinks both sides of Fredericton have enough vape shops, not enough, or too many.
“I dunno, man,” he said, “I don’t go to the south side — don’t need anything over town — but even this area could use a few more I think. It’s just good to have options, y’know? What if one’s closed and I need my Rocket Popsicle Murica E-Juice by VapeWild!?”
O’Brien nodded somberly.
“See, the north side is already doing a pretty good job of fighting gentrification; it’s the south side that worries me a bit more, to be honest,” mused the mayor. “There are certainly plenty of vape shops there, but they’re more dispersed, so we need to shove some more in.”
To attract more vape businesses to the city, an International Vape Conference will be held this spring at the Fredericton Convention Centre, where key players in the industry can meet and discuss plans to invest in a more diverse range of vape shops.
We spoke to members of the public to get their thoughts.
“How do all these goddamn vape shops stay in business?” asked Hanwell local Sherry Smith. “It seems like they all opened around the same time, and you never see anyone going in or out of them. They must have huge margins. Or maybe they’re funded by lung doctors to keep themselves in work for years to come?
“Why can’t these vapers just drink Alpine and smoke Player’s Light, like in the good old days?”