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Mar 1, 2010
Stores that serve the smoker will not only find a rich array of tobacco and smoking accessories at Allentown, PA based J & L Wholesale Distributors, but also a potpourri of other products to boost sales and profits. J & L, in business for 20 years, got its start by jobbing out to convenience stores and to local businesses in the Allentown area, according to Ken Grossman, owner. "When we first started out, we were selling items like cigarette rolling papers and screens-mostly tobacco accessories. Then we began to put together our own items and started to import products. We imported glass vases and drilled them here. We also started importing water pipes and other items directly from China and India. We sold these products to a lot of head shops and local tobacco stores," Grossman remembers.
At the time of J & L Wholesale's launch, there was little in the way of an Internet presence, but as it started to grow in the 1990s, Grossman realized that his pricing was strong and competitive enough to match anyone in the country, and J & L began to expand to retail outlets around the U.S. "Currently, we sell tobacco accessory items, water pipes, spoons and dug outs. We carry items like the ash masher and the smokeless electronic cigarette. We are big in lighters, from disposable lighters to torch lighters to barbecue lighters. We import 30 different styles of cigarette cases, and we also sell energy drinks. Their market and range of customers is broad, and includes flea marketers, other jobbers, distributors, pharmacies, tobacco shops, head shops and tattoo parlors, among others. The minimum order is quite reasonable at $75.
The most popular items by far at J & L are the glass products imported from China and India. "A lot of other items can be purchased from local distributors, but our bubblers and bigger water pipes are quite unique," states Grossman. "We are getting very big into sliders this year, which are pieces that go into larger water pipes. These items can break; therefore, a large replacement market exists. We will have one of the largest selections of sliders in the country in 2010, and we are very big in tobacco grinders, offering 50 different kinds." The firm carries all types of blunts as well, which are cigars, including Kingpins, Bluntvilles, Platinums, the Royals and True Blunts. J & L also offers virtually every major model of scale.
Grossman's son Jason, who handles J & L's website, put together a variety of starter kits for the firm, to serve both smaller and larger accounts. Called FunPacks, they range from $75, which is the minimum order, up to $1,000, which actually contain $1,500 worth of wholesale product. Although they offer a number of FunPacks at different prices, the most popular is the $150 starter kit. "That includes $150 worth of mixed glass. We have 20 to 30 different $6 and $8 pipes that we offer in the kit," says Grossman. "Our FunPacks give retailers a great variety of product from which to choose. In the $500 FunPack, for example, we include some bubblers and bigger glass pieces."
All of the items on the J & L website are listed with wholesale prices. The suggested retail is about three times the wholesale price. On a $12 glass pipe, for example, the retail would be about $39.95 to $49.95. This market offers high mark-up items for retailers. "We continue to pick up a lot of new accounts," says Grossman. "We work closely with flea markets and smaller store customers, and we work with larger distributors who will buy 100 or 200 individual pieces from us. What makes us a little different from others in the business is that we offer personalized customer service for each and every customer, from the smallest to the largest. We typically ship out 50 smaller orders a day, but we want to serve this market." J & L is exhibiting at shows around the country, and will be at the ASD Las Vegas Show in March at Booth L5579.
For more information:
J & L Wholesale
418 North Irving Street
Allentown, PA 18109
Topic: Company Profiles
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