The owner of a new tobacco store in Howell said now is the right time to enter the market due to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan and the growing popularity of e-cigarette vaping .
Howling Howell Smoke Shop opened last week at 120 W. Highland Road / M-59, Suite 300, in the Crossroads Town Center shopping mall.
While the store does not sell marijuana, it does offer marijuana smoking accessories, including water lines, wax pens, trays, and grinders.
It will also carry traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarette vapes, loose tobacco and cigars.
Owner Ali Abdallah has set up part of the store and he will be adding more products once they arrive. Abdallah said there were delays in the supply chain for some products, but he didn’t want to wait any longer to open.
“A lot of people smoke. It’s good and bad, I guess. And marijuana is legal in Michigan now, so that helps,” said Abdallah, 32.
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The shop also offers cigarillos, which are little tobacco cigars.
Abdallah said most customers use cigarillos to roll marijuana blunts by removing the tobacco and filling the paper with marijuana instead.
Although Howell does not license marijuana businesses, surrounding communities do have dispensaries.
âA lot of people say they go to (dispensaries in) Whitmore Lake,â Abdallah said. “A lot of people around here are growing it because it’s legal to grow it.”
He said that when it comes to tobacco users, more and more people have turned to e-cigarette vapers.
âRegular cigarettes contain a lot more chemicals than vaping,â he said. “It feels like people are turning to vapers because of this.”
Abdallah said Breeze vaporizers are the most popular brand. They come in dozens of flavors.
“Everyone has their own flavor that they like.”
On Monday, the store also had bags of loose tobacco, empty cigarette tubes and rolling machines for people who roll their own cigarettes.
âThe people who ride yourself are more of the middle-aged or older people,â Abdallah said. “It’s a lot cheaper. You can buy a carton for $ 80 or spend $ 10 to roll your own.”
Prior to opening the store, Abdallah owned and operated a Marathon gas station in Flint for approximately eight years. He also worked at a gas station with an adjoining smokehouse owned by his brother while he searched for a new location for a new gas station.
He said he changed gears and opened the tobacco store instead.
“It’s much less above a gas station than a gas station.”
He said the location in Howell was attractive as the mall enjoys good traffic thanks to Kroger and access via the M-59.
âI wanted to get out of Flint,â Abdallah said. “In Flint, there’s so much competition. It’s saturated. Here, it’s not so crowded. There are a few tobacco shops but the closest is a few miles away.”
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Timar at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @jennifer_timar.