LAS VEGAS – Don’t put the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) into a box—a cigar box or otherwise. This year’s convention and trade show appealed to a wide range of retailers operating everything from convenience stores to vape shops.
With about 250 exhibits and an estimated 4,000 attendees walking the south wing of the Las Vegas Convention Center, TPE offered retailers the option to try new vaping flavors, find out about upcoming products and gather insight into industry trends and emerging regulations.
“I come to learn from knowledgeable people in the industry,” said Louis Gigliotti, a lawyer representing c-store operator Westport Trading, Fort Mill, S.C., who told CSP Daily News he gained insight on “branded cigars and creating premium opportunities.”
An array of vendors appealed to multiple retailer goals, from luring the vaping millennial to stocking products for the more sophisticated smoker. “Our goal is to provide products … for consumers who have purchasing power,” said Albert Jose, senior brand manager for Kretek International, Moorpark, Calif., which sells filtered cigars, among other related items. “Our products target consumers who make multiple purchases such as other tobacco products, food and higher-end alcohol.”
As the event’s sponsor since 2009, Kretek has evolved the trade show’s format, this year segmenting vendors into categories to help retailers navigate the floor. Here’s what we saw while walking the show floor:
After recently settling a dispute with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Nat Sherman has replaced its “Natural” brand name with “Select” for its premium cigarettes, a move that includes a new descriptor on its packaging that now says, “Tobacco filler ingredients, tobacco and water.” Officials on site said they are looking forward to opportunities to grow after the company was bought earlier this year by Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group.
Retailers wondering how they can profit from the growing legalization of marijuana sooner than later should think about selling “glass,” or the accessories users need to smoke the product, according to education-session speaker David Bishop, managing partner of Balvor LLC, Barrington, Ill.