SmokenJoey and John Manzione Cover The VCCNE
I’m back. It’s Tuesday morning, July 1st. I’ve just returned from the VCCNE in Springfield MA. This particular vaping convention was held on June 28th and June 29th at the MASS Mutual Center in downtown Springfield. It was not, as I discovered after the first leg of my journey, held in Boston. You might remember that all of here at Spinfuel had been saying the convention was in Boston.
I have no good excuse for thinking that the convention was to be held in Boston, so flying into the wrong city, renting a car and driving 90 miles to Springfield, was no one’s fault but my own. Thankfully, that one mistake did not play into the success or failure of my personal experience there, other than it was a royal pain in the butt and an unexpected expense to trek the extra miles to the other end of Massachusetts. Oh well, live and learn. Next time I’ll know.
Representing Spinfuel eMagazine turned out to be a solo affair for me. The rest of the editorial staff was supposed to show up, but after finding out that the event was some 90-100 miles away from their respective (part time) residences they decided to fly into Boston with me, then take advantage of a long weekend to go home and hang out. But I was not alone.
My good friend and video reviewer (of renown) Joe Di Salvatore, better known as “TheSmokenJoey”, and I attended and worked the convention together.
We had an amazing time, and despite knowing each other for more than 2 years this was only the second time we had a chance to hang out at a vaping event. Together we worked the weekend filming reviews, interviews, and meeting the public and the vendors who attended. Some of those vendors were in Tampa, FL back in February, for Joe and I’s first convention together, but most were vendors I’d never met before.
Early on, Saturday morning I believe, before the doors were opened to the public, I had heard that vaping had not caught on in the same way it had in other parts of the country in the New England area. That surprised me, considering how many vendors are in the area and how many storefronts there were in the various states that make up New England. Regardless, the turnout, in my opinion, was good.
MASS Mutual Center
The convention floor at the MASS Mutual Center in Springfield was large, and the vendor booths took up a bit more than half the floor, which left room for tables for the public to sit, vape, and talk…or eat, since this time the concession stand was in the same area as the vendor booths, making it easy to grab food and drink whenever you want. Strangely, the first day of the convention there wasn’t an ounce of coffee in the concession stand.
NicVape, a major sponsor of the event, had an area of the floor that reminded me of the large companies in the tech community at places like MacWorld or the E3. Lots of tall round tables, a sitting area with comfy chairs, and other niceties I appreciated. Smokenjoey and I also had the opportunity to interview one of the big wigs from NicVape, which you’ll soon see on The Smokenjoey channel on YouTube and in Spinfuel eMagazine.
Joe and I set up in the back, among the tables for the public. We had a couple of iPad Air’s for video, some wireless audio that really improved the videos for Smokenjoey. Background noise was pushed back, and normal conversation with participates in the interviews were clear and easy to understand. You won’t need closed captioning to enjoy these videos.
As you will soon see in the Smokenjoey videos (more than a dozen full length vids are being edited now), everyone there seemed to be having a lot of fun, the public showed up in a big way, and several vendors ran out of products and promos by the end of the first day and had to have products flown in, or driven in, on Saturday night. Yet, everyone’s mood was uplifting and positive.
Maybe, just maybe, vaping is not as big in New England as it is elsewhere, but it is it’s about to be any moment. The people we met, the normal everyday vapers that came to the convention were in high spirits, they loved the event, and they spent money. They are eager to have more conventions like this one throughout the New England area. This shows me that all the current smokers in the area just need more information about vaping, and to know that they are not alone in their interest in vaping. When they catch the coverage of the convention on TV they’ll see just how many other people are interested too.
Still, it’s not as though there wasn’t at least some evidence that it was taking a while for vaping to hit critical mass in New England. We met one guy, Jon Pye, who related to us that among his co-workers and personal friends, he was the only one that vaped. When I asked if his co-workers and friends smoked, he said most of them did. He told Joey and I that he also gets a bit of ribbing from his friends and co-workers about his vaping, and that they seemed determined not to vape. Jon seemed like a great guy, passionate about vaping, and yet feeling alone in it. Hopefully the convention turnout is something he can take comfort in.
Local and Regional Vendors
Smokenjoey and I had a fantastic time talking with vendors we’ve never met, and some we’ve never heard of before. A couple of them spring to mind right now…
Longhorn Vapor Co.
Longhorn Vapor Co. is a premium eLiquid label out of Texas and man do they make some awesome eJuice.
Longhorn Vapor Co. has a Texas theme to their products, an old west kind of thing, and their design and presentation worked extremely well. Just wait till you see their premium line of juice, all decked out in their own individual wooden boxes and 40ML glass bottles with great looking labels.
In addition to the Longhorn Vapor Co. eLiquids that the team will review I picked up a couple of products that I plan on reviewing myself later this week. One is just a simple, but brilliant idea that I’m really surprised we haven’t already seen a bunch of these products already.
It’s a rebuildable coil kit that contains every tool you need, and then some, to wrap coils and rebuild atomizers without having to go look for this tool or that tool. Just wait till you read the review. It’s not some revolutionary technological breakthrough; it’s a simple, well thought out kit, and when you see it you’ll wonder why it’s taken so long for such a good kit like this one to appear on the scene, at a very affordable price too.
The other product I’ll review is also a simple, yet quality built PV with a rubberized finish that fits my hand so well, and provides a constant and steady flow of voltage with little to no drop off, yet sells for under $40. It’s called the Juggernaut and it will be one PV you’ll want for everyday use or even as a spare backup. At the selling price of just $35 you can’t ‘not’ want one. With as many PV and APV’s I already own I had to buy one. It may remind you of a Bolt, but rest assured it is much more than that.
The Rest of the Weekend
I don’t want to give too much away because I think you’re really going to like the interviews Smokenjoey and I were able to get. Two or three of the people we were able to nail down for some conversation will truly surprise you.
The weekend was a good one for vapers in New England and for the vendors that attended, not to mention that hundreds of people that showed up to look around ask questions, and buy vape gear and eliquids.
While the next VCC won’t come around for 3 or 4 months, Joe and I have already made the decision to cover it for both Spinfuel and The SmokenJoey. With a better idea of what to expect, and a bit more planning on my part (I did not expect to be the only one from Spinfuel to show up), the next convention will be covered even better than this one. I enjoyed spending time with Joe Di Salvatore, and we’ve become even better friends because of it.
Keep in mind that as the videos are released for this convention they will be available in Spinfuel eMagazine for 24-36 hours before they go “wide”. We’ll certainly let you know when each new video is published, and I hope you’ll find them amusing and educational.
The Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team
The Spinfuel team still has two eliquid reviews to finish before they begin the reviews for eLiquid vendors I met and secured reviews for, but Julia and her team has promised to bring you the same, in-depth reviews and interviews for those brands coming up. The brands include Longhorn Vapor, Eve, Mad Mike’s, Archetype, and several others. I sampled many of the brands and the flavors, and if the team enjoys them half as much as I did you’ll soon have several more brands you’ll want to try.
I’d like to thank all the people behind the scenes of VCC for their energy and friendships during the event. They made Joey and I feel right at home and made sure we had everything we needed to cover the event properly. I’d also like to thank all the great vendors that took time out of their very busy time behind the booth to come over and talk to us, and for providing plenty of products to try out and bring back to the team.
I would also like to specially thank Joe Di Salvatore for inviting me along. All this video work is his gig, not mine, and not Spinfuel’s. His invitation to join him for this event, as well as Tampa a few months back (which was a personal disaster but a terrific event), are very much appreciated. It’s one thing to sit behind a desk and talk to people on the phone, but to be able to get out there and meet people in person is something else altogether.
If it wasn’t for the kindness and generosity of The Smokenjoey these events would remain undiscovered country to me. So, thanks Joe, thanks for everything! See you soon!
John Manzione – Publisher