Big Top Vape offers products and community in River Falls
His own effort to quit smoking cigarettes was Don Golightly's inspiration for opening Big Top Vape at 123 Main St. in River Falls.
"A friend of mine suggested I try an e-cig," Golightly said. "And I did."
Another friend was selling the products, leading Golightly to open his own business with them in 2015. Since then the products have continued to evolve and grow in popularity.
"I didn't realize how popular it was on the East and West coasts," he said. "There's more to it than basic e-cigs."
His store has worked to keep up with the new aspects.
"We just have kind of grown and expanded into different categories or product lines," Golightly said.
The store has also become a place for those in the vaping community to gather, with a lounge area, game nights and cloud competitions.
"They're more than welcome to come down, chill out," Golightly said.
Big Top offers a variety of hardware, from entry-level to the more expensive models.
"We just try to provide the latest, greatest products," Golightly said.
The store is not just for regulars, and Golightly said they welcome everyone no matter the knowledge level.
"We try very hard to make sure it's a welcoming atmosphere for anybody," Golightly said.
He and his sales staff focus on safety, and are willing to sit down with people to show them how to set up and operate the products.
"We pride ourselves on taking really good care of our customers," Golightly said.
A River Falls resident, Golightly wanted to keep his business local. Most of his employees are also residents or UW-River Falls students.
"We kind of pride ourselves on being local," Golightly said. "We love this community. River Falls is a great place to live and a great place to own a business.