You hear glass blowers talk all the time about the challenge of getting their work into shops. Peter Hayes doesn’t have to worry about that —- as the owner of Glass Pound Studio Gallery & Vape Shop, in Spring City, Pennsylvania, the majority of glass smoking accessories are ones that come straight from the torches of he and his fellow artists.
Glass Pound opened in 2015. Hayes and his friends had been renting a barn to use as their studio, but when the farm was sold, they found a new location in town to make their art. It wasn’t long before Hayes was left on his own to try and pay expenses. Smoke shops he dealt with were making bank on vaping products, and so he gave that a shot.
It was just Hayes’s luck, that in August, 2016, Pennsylvania stuck a 40 percent tax on e-cigs, and in doing so, killed the profit margins on most vape products. Hayes countered by adding a selection of smoke shop items — papers, wraps, torches, etc., and glass pipes made in the studio and by friends around the local glass blowing community.
One thing Hayes didn’t do was bring in a bunch of cheap imports.
“All of my products are American-made,” Hayes says. “It’s a personal choice. America built this industry, and we build things better; I don’t think the Chinese manufacturers even understand how the products are supposed to work.”
Two-thirds of the shop is dedicated to glass blowing with four torches. The glass studio not only accounts for the majority of rigs for sale, but also creates a buzz that brings in people interested in seeing the artists in action.
“You can explain how things are made and they love that,” Hayes says. “Plus, as glassblowers, we make stuff that people want to buy. There’s also the advantage that we can do repairs.”
When it comes to the rest of Glass Pounds’ inventory, Hayes carries only products that he himself deems worthy.
“I think there are a lot of shops that sell a lot of junk. We don’t sell any shady products that are going to piss off the police,” Hayes says. “We’re not like a corner store; we don’t have everything, but I have a really great selection.”
Among the brands available at Glass Pound are Scorch and Blink torches, Ooze 510 batteries, SharpStone grinders, SneakGuard stash containers,CBD products by Green Lotus and Green Roads World, Entwood Dugouts, Pot Pockets (wooden joint holders), blunt wraps by High Hemp, Kong, Primal and Twisted, and licensed Rick & Morty apparel from Seedless.
Running the shop on his own (with shop dogs Maru and Chisel) means Hayes is in charge of both buying and selling. He finds many of the new products on Facebook groups specifically for smoke shop owners. If members are talking up a product, and it’s something Hayes thinks his customers might want, he’ll buy just one to check out the quality before making a larger order. The Mighty Fast Herbal Infuser and Hyer Big E portable e-nail are perfect examples of popular new products that have made the grade.
With business going well, Josh hopes to put on more staff, so he’ll be able to get back to blowing glass again full-time. But whatever he’s doing, there’s one thing he’s discovered about life in a smoke shop: “I like dealing with customers and showing them new things.”