Nfld. & Labrador

High hopes for Corner Brook vape shop, despite tough taxes

Entrepreneur Ian Colbourne is optimistic about his new vape shop business, and is even finding some good news in a tough provincial budget.
Ian Colbourne hopes to have the shelves of his new Corner Brook vape shop filled by May. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

A western Newfoundland entrepreneur is hoping his vape shop can push against the budget headwinds, and successfully launch in the middle of a tough economic time.

Ian Colbourne is already taking orders at Four O'Clock Vapor, his West Street business that will sell electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine products in Corner Brook.

Despite provincial tax hikes, which means less money in consumer's pockets, Colbourne is hoping his new venture can heat up.

"No matter when, it's always going to be a challenging time to start up a business, so you just kind of got to take the punches," he said.

I'm going to keep chugging along, no matter what- Ian Colbourne

"It's just coincidental that I'm starting up exactly when this austerity budget, or whatever you wanna call it, came into place. But I'm going to keep chugging along, no matter what."

In fact, Colbourne says that the April 14 budget might contain some good news for his industry.

According to Colbourne, the small hike in tobacco taxes that was announced in the budget won't apply to liquid nicotine products.

That means his store will be relatively cheaper than the competition by the time he launches in May. 

"It's a growing industry. It's gaining popularity," he said.

"I think it's a good opportunity for people in Corner Brook for anybody that's looking to quit smoking can try it out."

Buying local

Jim Parsons, head of Corner Brook’s Downtown Business Association, says buying local is a good remedy to small business challenges in Newfoundland and Labrador (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Jim Parsons, head of Corner Brook's Downtown Business Association, says it will still be possible for businesses to make it work — despite this year's tough tax measures.

"People are going to buy things," he said. 

He says business prospects will be even better if consumers make a conscious effort to buy local.

"You still have to enjoy your life. You still have buy your groceries. We are hoping that people will make the choice to support local business rather than that thing on Amazon."

With files from Colleen Connors