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UK-wide sales for vape firm.

Byline: KELLEY PRICE kelley.price@trinitymirror.com @kelleyprice_gaz

THE father and son duo behind Middlesbrough's Festival Shop have taken their firm from a small unit to a UKwide vape manufacturer. Patrick Wilson opened The Festival Shop at the town's In-Shops, now Dundas Arcade, back in 1996 with dad Robert.

It offered tattooing, piercings and sold smoking paraphernalia.

But almost 15 years on, the pair noticed a big trend towards vaping.

They started their own brand of vaping products, City Vape, and now they run a 3,000 sq ft manufacturing unit on the town's Riverside Park industrial estate.

They have three shops in Middlesbrough including Vape Bar in Hillstreet Centre, City Vape in Captain Cook Square and the original Festival Shop in the Dundas Arcade.

Now their vaping products are in 500 shops across the UK and they employ more than 40 staff on Teesside.

Patrick said: "We got into the vaping industry early, around four or five years ago.

"The Festival Shop already sold smoking paraphernalia and vapes were a very negative product at first, but we saw it as positive.

"The whole point of it is so you don't have to use tobacco. It was a grey area, a few years ago people could have seen us as being a bit antiestablishment but that's come full circle now.

"The worm has turned, Government is advising that they're better for you than cigarettes."

The pair invested around PS400k in getting the emissions testing and packaging legislation on their products right and continue to re-invest in their distribution outfit, UK Vape.

"We get people from Harrogate, all over Scotland coming to us because we supply everything," adds Patrick.

"In the next six years, I can see cigarettes becoming illegal as ridiculous as that sounds. It's getting closer."

The Festival Shop's Redcar branch, which opened three years ago, is moving a few doors down, taking over an empty charity unit on the High Street and becoming the Festival Vape Shop next month.

CAPTION(S):

Patrick Wilson of City Vape and UK Vape

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 31, 2018
Words:342
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