A dream became a reality for Nax Smoke Shop owner Alex Siv when his business started to bloom. Siv wanted to own his own business but didn’t have the money or needs to start. His aunt saw he needed help and made a deal with him; if he promised to go back to school, she would help him start his business.
Siv, who is originally from Houston, agreed to the deal and moved to Nacogdoches and started studying psychology at Angelina College. At first, Siv thought it would be cool to open a cigar lounge, but he opened a smoke shop instead because it was the less expensive route.
Nax Smoke Shop, located at 1302 North St., opened in January 2020 right before the pandemic hit. Siv relies a lot on college students for business; and when students were sent home, he took a major hit.
“It started out really slow since I started out in January, but the pandemic started in February, which really slowed things down, especially during the summertime when all the college students were out of town already,” Siv said. “But once I actually got on Twitter and started talking to people, relating to people, word just spread by mouth, so business has really picked up a lot lately.”
Twitter has helped his shop blossom after a lot of his customers discovered the shop through the social media platform. Abigail Aaron, a communication science and disorders major from Longview, followed the shop’s Twitter page (@NaxSmokeShop) after reading some of the tweets and seeing its promotions.
“I soon realized it was very close to where I live and decided to go check it out,” Aaron said. “The prices were unbeatable, and the products were great. So, I knew that was my now go-to smoke shop.”
But the prices weren’t the only thing that made Aaron keep going back, she also received great customer service.
“The customer service is wonderful,” Aaron said. “The guy who works there is so kind. He is very professional but still manages to make me feel welcomed.”
Siv likes to focus on the needs of his customers. Being a college student himself, he realizes the importance of saving money and not spending it all in one place.
“When my customers shop here, I don’t want them to think too much about price,” Siv said. “I want them to think of what they want to get instead. Before you shop anywhere, look around. Look at prices, look for deals and try to save as much money as you can.”
He believes focusing on the customer’s needs over prices is what makes his sales. When the shop first opened, he would make $200 on his busy days; but Siv said his sales have increased dramatically. Now, on his slow days he makes around $2000.
“I try to sell my products at a low price, but I do sell more of it,” Siv said. “So, at the end of the day the customer is happy because they’re getting a great deal, and I’m happy because I’m still making the same money. Everyone wins in this situation.”
Siv also interacts and promotes other small Nacogdoches business on Twitter because he believes this is a time everyone needs to support each other. He also interacts with members of the community and responses to people’s tweets, even if it’s not about his shop.
Hayden George, a junior psychology major from Dayton, loves interacting with Siv on Twitter because it shows Siv’s personality, which makes customers want to shop there even more.
“I think the owner is doing a fabulous job reaching out to the community,” George said. “He is very active on social media, and you don’t really see that with the other smoke shops in [Nacogdoches]. He really knows how to communicate with people and not make it seem awkward.”