The most unique gifts of the year always flaunt themselves during the holidays. Ugly sweaters and white elephant gifts are particular to the season as are gift cards and lottery tickets; then there are the best-friends-forever gifts such as cards filled with cash; anything for those who have everything; and those that you’ll surely find at Davenport’s most unique store. Established just three years ago and across the street from Dollar General, Mystic Vapor Lounge is our area’s only vaporing lounge.
I stopped by there recently because my father was looking for an e-cigarette option. I must’ve spent over an hour there, looking at their products, asking questions, chatting and shopping. (To which I say, “Dagnabbit, Austin! That blew my budget for the week.”)
Mystic’s laid-back, small-town atmosphere makes it easy to feel like you don’t need to rush, that it’s okay to look around, even marvel, at the eclectic mix of items on their shelves. According to owners Mike and Trish Wicher, Republicans, they are “old school” … raised old school.” Even in their advertisements, they point out, “we respect our elders, we keep our word, and look out for one another. We like to get to know our customers personally.”
While young, Mike’s employees, Melissa and Austin, are not your typical young adults. They share their boss’ interests and Austin is an e-cigarette expert or at least that’s how he came across to me when he got me to shell out every penny in my pocket, close to 10,000!
Melissa on the other hand is an artist when she’s not at Mystic. She’s also a tech-wiz when she’s there, definately a keeper. In all, everyone’s a friendly face.
Their anchor product is called Rock of Ages, a locally brewed “e-juice” used for their refillable e-cigarettes. If you’re thinking about e-cigarettes to stop smoking, consider this an excellent place to begin. (My father would agree.)
They let you try out their flavors and show you exactly how to use their e-cigs. The flavor I chose was Blueberry Balls, not exactly the name I would’ve chosen for this fruity e-juice, but certainly a festive choice for the holidaze.
Every puff I take reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skit, “Schweddy Balls.” So now enjoying a puff is truly enjoyable in every sense.
What Mystic is Not
First, Mystic does not sell exploding e-cigs. According to Mike, that’s the purview of idiots assembling home-made vaping devices. What Mike sells are high-quality devices that do not smoke and turn off automatically when too hot.
Granted Mystic’s “Lounge” name makes it sound like it could be some smoky tavern, it’s not. Mystic’s not a “head shop,” not a smoking bar, not a bar at all. In fact if you’re looking for anything having to do with illicit drugs, illegal-drug paraphernalia, or smoking products, go somewhere else. Mystic’s a place where puffers of e-cigarettes can relax and enjoy.
Mystic Vapor doesn’t serve beverages either, at least not yet, but it’s a consideration for the future. One of their premier products is processed from a medicinal tree harvested on the other side of the planet in Southeast Asia and can be made into a drink. It’s called kratom, pronounced krā-tum.
One of two most popular ways kratom is consumed is either as a capsule or a tea made from the leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa tree, an evergreen related to the coffee family. Kratom drinks are already being made at another vapor lounge on Route 27, Mike told me. “I’m thinking of making my own drink too, a health drink.” Kratom Brew, anyone?
Although not FDA-approved, the controversial kratom is taken by many of its users as an option to opioids. It’s effectiveness as a pain killer and mood-enhancer with “very mild opioid effects” is known worldwide. It’s also advocated by hundreds of thousands of American fans, who provide thousands of online kratom support groups, private Facebook groups, and the hashtag #KeepKratomLegal.
Compare all-time kratom deaths at only 36 with the number of opioid deaths in the US this year alone: 42,249. Can you see why kratom is gaining in popularity? Regardless, kratom supporters dispute even the low number of 36 should be less than half that number. With the opioid crises at full steam throughout the United States and central Florida, kratom offers a relatively safe, legal and holistic alternative.
Unfortunately, Mystic seems to always be under threat of losing their product lines. The FDA, for example, wants to treat “vaping” products, such as e-cigarettes, like cancer-causing cigarettes. Mike is an activist for his industry and thus encourages his customers to sign petitions, such as the one against the FDA proposal to ban vaping and another bill (2058) sponsored by two congressmen.
‘Tis the Mystic Season
The holidays are always a great time to support local small businesses; Mystic fits that bill. With so few businesses in the City of Davenport, Florida, having one so unique and with so much potential to grow is exactly what our city needs.
Spread your holiday cheer. Take some time to take a lounge around Mystic.
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