Cloud 9 Vapor Co. set to open Friday

Cloud 9 staff are dedicated to treating customers like their best friend when assisting them in Cloud 9 locations. (Submitted photo)

Staff Writer

Taylor Upchurch, a native of Meridian, is now the owner of three vapor shops in Oxford, Grenada and Starkville.

Upchurch is originally from Meridian, but moved to Philadelphia, Mississippi and graduated high school there.

She attended East Central Community College straight out of high school and then transferred to the University of Mississippi to pursue biochemistry.

Upchurch then graduated from Ole Miss in 2014, and opened her first vape shop that October.

"I was going to go to medical school but I started vaping earlier that year and I decided that I was going to open a vape shop and here I am four years later with three 3 vape stores," Upchurch said.

Her vape shops specialize in variety.

"If you visit any of our other locations, we have large varieties of everything," she said.

Examples include mods and Juul pods.

"We literally take every nook and cranny of the vape niche and we make you have a variety and something to choose from," she said.

Of course she can't offer everything on the vapor market, but she is dedicated to catering every type of vapor items on the market.

Upchurch was a cigarette smoker until a friend convinced her to try vaping at the end of 2013.

"You know it's just this thing that people do when they vape they just talk about it all the time," she said.

"I was just like oh my gosh, stop, I get it-I get it," Upchurch added.

She began to try the different flavors.

That whole weekend, she and her friend never went outside to smoke, and Upchurch realized she went a whole weekend without smoking a cigarette.

So she put herself to a test.

She had a three-hour drive ahead of her one day and said if she could go that drive without a cigarette then she could quit cold turkey.

"My vape was pretty worn out by the time I got to the house but I did it and I haven't had a cigarette since then," Upchurch said.

She still has her last cigarette in the console of her car as a reminder of her courage to quit.

Back then she noticed that when visiting other vape shops, there wasn't a lot to choose from.

People were condescending.

"I was just so fed up with that like mentality that this is all there is and I was like you know what I want to open my own vape store," she said.

She worked with her friend Justin Blair, at Geyser Falls for about 10 years, and they opened their first vapor shop together until July 2015.

During that time she took over the business as he graduated from Mississippi State University and moved out of Mississippi for a job.

"Ever since then it's just been growing, growing and growing," she said.

The name came to her randomly as they were eating lunch at Geyser Falls planning their business venture.

"Honestly I just feel like, we have met a lot of vapors just opening the store, so there are just also that many more smokers," she said.

Upchurch also plans to bring amazing customer service.

Each one of her employees have been trained to take care of customers like they are their best friend.

"You walk in and you're like ‘OMG there is so much,'" she said.

She believes vaping can be intimidating, especially if you're getting assistance from an employee who doesn't really care.

"But we guide them through that process to help them quit smoking cigarettes and so that's really what I'd like to do," Upchurch said.

She wants to meet new people in the area and convert cigarette smokers to try vaping like she did.

"I'm just excited, I get to buy some maroon and white stuff," she said.

Cloud 9 Vapor Co. will open 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 9 on 602 South Jackson Street in Starkville.

Upchurch says that it's tough being a lady boss while tending to her 10 month old son, but she can't wait to see what chaos Friday brings in a busy way.

The first 50 customers will be gifted Tshirts with the color maroon in them and Cloud 9's emblem on it.