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TIKI TIME: Shop offers variety of vapes, CBD, hookah at three area locations
Tiki staff
Pictured is the staff of Tiki Island, along with owner George Hammonds (second from left). Hammonds said all employees complete up to four months of classes as part of the training process before ever making it to the sales floor. - photo by Mason Wittner

COVINGTON, Ga. — Tiki Island is looking to redefine the experience of purchasing CBD and vape products.

George Hammonds understands there’s an unfortunate stigma attached to traditional vape shops. They’re viewed as intimidating and off-putting, indisposing casual consumers to stepping foot inside.

However, Hammonds believes his company offers its customers — which they refer to as “guests” — an inviting, clean and friendly experience. Started in 2018 with a store in Loganville, Tiki Island offers its guests vape and CBD products that they believe will truly enhance their lives.

Tiki Island states its mission as this: “To redefine what it means to be a vape and CBD company with the kind of ‘WOW!’ experiences and memorable customer service typically associated with leading theme parks and vacation resorts.”

Tiki Island’s branding was inspired by surf shops, island vacations and Disney World. Guests who enter through the doors at any of its four locations will be greeted by soft Jimmy Buffett music and enveloped in a welcoming environment that includes soft-colored walls, thatch decor and artificial seagulls.

Hammonds has spent 35 years as a bartender. While he’s never opened up a bar of his own in a tropical location, he’s successfully emulated a beach vacation vibe in his stores to instill a comfortability in patrons not found in traditional vape shops.

“Every bartender dreams of opening up a bar on the beach, and the smart ones don’t,” Hammonds said. “This is as close as it got.”

The inviting decor is just a portion of what helps Tiki Island stand out above the crowd. Perhaps most impressive is the level of expertise and insight with which employees are armed.

Hammonds’ employees are approachable and informed. They masterfully toe the line between overbearing and underwhelming, engaging in conversation with each guest to guide them toward the products they feel best fit their needs.

“Part of our brand, really, is to have an educated staff. Every one of our employees doesn’t get on this floor until they’ve done about three or four months of classes,” Hammonds explained. “There is so much bad information out there. There is good information, too, but you can’t be a headline reader. If you do that then you’re not getting enough information.”

There are a multitude of misconceptions about CBD and its usage, Hammonds said. With 60 different cannabinoids — which he likens to the active ingredients in food — each strain offers a unique experience. It’s vital for consumers to understand the impact each product can have on them, while also grasping that there’s no singular product that promises to be a cure-all.

Offering helpful guidance and dispelling those misconceptions is a crucial part of the job for Tiki Island employees.

“That’s part of the education process,” Hammonds said. “Yeah, we want to make money. But I don’t want to make it out of someone else’s ignorance.”

Tiki Island’s Oak Hill store is located at 5354 Hwy 20 S in the Kroger shopping center. For more information, please contact the store at 844-438-8454.

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