Red Box Vape joins forces up with ex-army buddies to launch what is believed to be the UK's first purpose-built accessible vape store

Nottingham-based Red Box Vape has launched a joint venture store in Oakham, Rutland, believed to be the first fully adapted, wheelchair accessible vape store in the UK.

Red Box, Britain's fastest-growing vape brand, has teamed up with vape enthusiasts Mick Fox and Jim Barton, who are running the high street store.

Store manager Mick (44), a wheelchair user from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and assistant manager Jim (35), from Sleaford, both served at different times in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglican Regiment and became good friends subsequently through army connections and their mutual love of vaping.

Mick was keen to take control of his own career path and so began seeking business opportunities in the vape industry. While attending a vape exhibition in Birmingham last October, the pair discovered Red Box Vape, which was planning major expansion through a combination of franchises, acquisitions and joint ventures. 

Once the deal and store location was agreed earlier this year, Mick was keen to ensure the business was accessible to everyone, as well as adapting it for his own needs as a wheelchair user.

Mick said: "Working with Red Box Vape was an easy decision; the team have worked with us throughout the process, included us in all of the planning and have valued our input.

"Red Box Vape shares our vision for high quality and standards. And we know our customers will love the products as much as we do."

He added that the store adaptations were particularly special in a town like Oakham, as access for wheelchair users could sometimes be a problem due to an abundance of older buildings, some of which were listed. 

Jim said: "The people at Red Box Vape were keen to remove any barriers faced due to disability. They worked with us to ensure that we were not only in keeping with the brand look and feel, but that we all worked together to ensure that everyone, as far as possible, was able to access and enjoy our store and products."

The Oakham venture is part of a plan to open at least 100 Red Box Vape stores by the end of 2020. It follows the announcement last week that the company had acquired 11 Barracuda Vape stores in Wales, Bristol and Scotland. 

Mark Shaw, managing director of Red Box Vape, said: "When we started conversations with Mick and Jim it was clear from the outset that they shared the same core values as Red Box Vape - which is to offer the highest quality and best value products in a welcoming environment, while making it accessible to all."

"We're delighted to be the brand that is setting the benchmark for accessibility in our industry."

Negotiations are currently underway with three other UK vape businesses to acquire another 30 stores between the Midlands and Scotland by the end of this year. 

Red Box Vape opened its first flagship store in Nottingham last July.