Ink and Clouds
WOODSTOCK — Although the combined storefront for LiBeau Omens Vape Co. and Artisan Trail Tattoo opened on Woodstock’s Main Street in March, plans to expand with new vape store locations are already in motion.
Co-owners D.J. Ownby and Beau Morgan agreed that their location has served their businesses well so far. Customers have scheduled tattoo appointments right after going in town to pay tickets.
“I’d like to say the synergy between us and our neighbors is really good, and it’s also kind of cool to be the only tattoo shop I’ve ever heard of that’s across the street from a courthouse,” Ownby said.
Ownby wanted to include something different and unique to the area with his tattoo studio.
“One of the biggest things about the business model here was to not be a one-stop pony, essentially. We wanted to be able to draw new faces and old faces in for more than just one reason,” he said.
Smoking out of electronic vaporizers, or “vaping,” has spawned specialized businesses and created an entire new culture within the past few years.
Morgan manages the vaping business end while Ownby focuses on tattoo art for his clientele, which he said he had to grow for a long time before opening Artisan Trail.
According to Ownby, the Artisan Trail Facebook page had more than 800 likes before he and Morgan obtained the business license. For him, the store is a home base built on a solid foundation of followers and patrons.
“You either migrate or you have a strong enough client base to potentially stay and open your own studio,” he said about being a tattoo artist in the area.
The LiBeau Omens opening in July will be at the Wetsel building in downtown Harrisonburg. It’ll be a vape bar for walk-in clientele as well as a store, which Morgan said is unique for the downtown area. He said he also hopes to eventually obtain a license to offer craft beer at the location.
Morgan’s been considering a third location, and said he has plans to open five to 10 new vape stores and bars over the next year.
There have been many health concerns over the trend of electronic smoking lately, but Morgan said he has confidence in the quality of his products.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is there’s a difference between your gas station e-cigarettes and actual mods, the high-end vaping supplies. The gas station e-cigarettes are actually still owned by the big tobacco companies,” he said.
In addition to the new locations, Morgan said he is planning to expand with the release of a new line of vaporizer e-liquid called “Jesus Juice” within the next few months.
While a town like Woodstock might not be prime for a clientele-demanding vape bar, Ownby said there is still a lot of potential for growth in the valley area for both the vape and tattoo business.
“We have to train the town first, and that is a long-term investment both in time and money. But with the town on hand, anything is possible,” he said.
Contact reporter Rachel Mahoney at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 540-465-5137 ext. 164.