Gina Henkle is Cool Vapes. She treats her employees and her customers like family. Her genuine affection for people is obvious in her huge smiles and family-style hugs. Please stop by your local Cool Vapes to meet this very sweet and very impressive business woman.
“SOCCER MOM TO VAPE SHOP OWNER”
In June 2012, Gina Henkle started using e-cigarettes to stop smoking. Within 2 weeks, she smoked her last cigarette. Gina and her husband, RJ Marino, saw immediate improvements in her health and overall attitude.
When purchasing vape supplies, Gina and RJ noticed that local vape stores were dirty and less than desirable in many ways. RJ would often say that Gina was “a soccer mom going into a head shop.”
The couple immediately saw a need not being met by other stores: to help older clients stop smoking in an upscale, comfortable establishment with outstanding customer service. They envisioned a vape store that was willing to listen to and educate customers, and suggest devices based on a customer’s specific needs.
In January 2014, Gina and RJ opened Cool Vapes LLC on McKnight Road. In May 2014, Gina quit her job at a doctor’s office to become the first full-time Cool Vapes employee.
Cool Vapes quickly became known as one of the top Vape shops in the Pittsburgh area due to its distinct store image, exceptional customer service, and new product availability. Cool Vapes maintains a database of each customer’s specific flavor of choice and current nicotine level. The customer’s nicotine level can be gradually decreased without the normal shock to the body.
Cool Vapes also offers a “tasting bar” (complete with bar stools and great music). Each customer is provided with a personal tasting tip that can be used to sample any of the 250 flavors sold.
In August 2015, Gina and RJ opened a second store in Cranberry, managed by Gina. Cranberry has been the most successful Cool Vapes store to date.
In April 2016, they opened a third store: Cool Vapes Allison Park. The Allison Park store did not increase sales as quickly as the other stores, but after some recent changes, it has had a 20% increase in sales and customers.
In January 2018, RJ passed away suddenly from a heart attack. Gina was grief-stricken but found the courage and strength to continue on as the sole owner of Cool Vapes.
She has encountered many roadblocks along the way: grueling inheritance laws, bad lawyers, and employee issues. New competition opens regularly. Government regulations, push-back from tax and revenue agencies, and attacks from the pharmaceutical industry have taken their toll on her business. But in spite of these setbacks, Gina has been able to increase sales by 10% across the board since she took the reins of the Cool Vapes stores.