Delayed smoke shop ready to open in Stadium Village

Construction issues delayed the opening for more than two months.

Macy Wendt, a friend of Smokedale’s owner, cleans the glass windows of the shop Tuesday. The new Stadium Village tobacco shop is planned to open in the beginning of July.

Macy Wendt, a friend of Smokedale’s owner, cleans the glass windows of the shop Tuesday. The new Stadium Village tobacco shop is planned to open in the beginning of July.

by Callie Sacarelos

The sign went up more than a month ago, but Smokedale Tobacco in Stadium Village likely will not open until the end of June or later.

Owner Hatem Younis said construction problems delayed the smoke shop from opening as planned on April 20, and now he’s planning on opening at the end of the month.

When construction of his Stadium Village location began, Younis was busy overseeing the opening of his other shop across the border in Hudson, Wis.

During renovations, Younis wasn’t happy with the quality of his contractor’s original work and hired new workers to tear everything out and start from scratch. He said in the process he lost more than $15,000 worth of work and material.

“We did it in the way we wanted it to be, on the level we needed it to be,” he said.

Younis said he isn’t worried about the on-going light-rail construction and that part of the reason he chose the space was its proximity to the Stadium Village and East Bank stations.

Nancy Rose Pribyl, Stadium Village Commercial Association president, said she has not heard of any concern about a smoke shop opening near campus.

Pribyl said if people are going to buy tobacco, it’s better that they purchase it “within our community” to support area businesses.

Younis said although he expects University students to come into his shop, his primary customers are people from all over Minneapolis and other parts of the state.

 “We are not going to be attracting people to smoke, we sell to the people who smoke,” he said, “It’s not for the students. It’s more for the people who work around the campus. It’s a busy area.”

TCF Bank Stadium events bring in large crowds, Younis said, and many of his customers buy cigars to celebrate sporting events.

“We need a location in Minneapolis because in my experience, you can’t build a name in the suburbs. You have to be downtown, in the city.”

Younis also owns locations in Oakdale, Minn., and Hudson, Wis.

Once the shop is open, Younis said he plans to sell his tobacco and cigarettes at the state minimum, which will keep competition at bay.

Wally Sakallah, owner of Hideaway, a head shop in Dinkytown, said he’s not worried about additional competition.

“Hideaway is a head shop, not a tobacco shop,” he said.

Though Smokedale will sell glass pipes, it will offer mostly tobacco, cigars and cigarettes.

“But everything is up to demand,” Younis said, “We’ll see our customers, what they want, and everything is up to that.”

University economics and statistics student Nate Broadbridge doesn’t think Smokedale will do well at first because he said Dinkytown is still the more popular area to live in.

Broadbridge said location and convenience are important factors in deciding where to shop.

“[Smokedale] would have to be quite a bit cheaper because then I would have to drive. There’s no way I’m going to walk,” he said.

Hideaway opened in Dinkytown in 2005 and has been at its current location since 2007. Sakallah said customers will continue to come to his store because of its good reputation.

“They know who they’re dealing with,” he said.

University sophomore Bjorn Sorenson said he first heard about Hideaway in high school and said the shop is popular among his friends.

“It’s the Hideaway, you know?” he said. “Everyone that goes to the U of M just knows what it is. It’s just kind of a classic, amazing smoke shop that everyone loves going to, and they’re always improving.”

Sorenson said he would continue shopping at Hideaway because it’s closer to where he lives but said freshmen living in the dorms near Smokedale would probably shop there.

Younis plans to expand the store into the neighboring space currently occupied by the Stadium Village Flats leasing office. He said he planned on acquiring the additional space June 1, but the company extended their lease for three more months.