It was just last week that we reported that the Sprint store at 1743 Sheepshead Bay Road had shuttered, kicking off a flurry of construction. Well, now we see that City World Tobacco is preparing to open in its place.
Rovshan from Arbuz sent us the photo above, joking that “Smoke shops are froyo stores back a few years ago,” probably referring to our musing last year, in the wake of a spate of frozen yogurt shops opening, that frozen yogurt might be becoming the new sushi.
A few “smoke” shops have opened recently, but they all appear to be focused on “vaping” – or vaporized liquid tobacco products. It’s just a guess, but I’ve got a feeling this one’s going to be an old school smoke shop, with cigarettes and rolling tobacco, lottery tickets and gum. That’s just a guess.
Good luck, City World Tobacco.
(Source: NextGen via Yelp)
NextGen Vape Shop, a new business dedicated to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine vaporizers, has opened at 2417 Avenue U, the former location of Kings County Divers.
The store opened its doors within the last few days. It’s the first vape shop we know of that has opened in the area, and, as we previously reported, another one is headed to Sheepshead Bay Road.
Although both stores seem to be positioning their vapeware as their primary offering, they both also have signs that say “smoke shop,” which suggests tobacco, glassware and accessories.
The business is replacing Kings County Divers, which closed in February after 40 years serving the community.
Our friends at Arbuz tell us they’re set to have a new neighbor, Life Made A Little Easier, a head shop slated to replace Luv My Vision Optique on Sheepshead Bay Road.
A banner went up at the 1702 Sheepshead Bay Road storefront on Friday, advertising it as a “Smoke-Vape-Novelty Shop.” A little online sleuthing (really, very little), shows that it’s the latest branch of a Staten Island business established in 2012 that sells pipes, electronic cigarettes and vaporizers, and assorted knick-knacks for the smoking/faux-smoking enthusiast.
The storefront itself has been empty since December, when Luv My Vision closed down a year and a half (and a hurricane) after opening.
A second roll-your-own-cigarette smoke shop, Green Leaf Smokes, has opened up at 1326 Sheepshead Bay Road, off the corner of East 14th Street. It’s the second such business to open in the area, following the November opening of City Smokes at 2695 Coney Island Avenue.
These shops allow customers to come in and pick a blend of “organic” tobacco that is mixed to emulate the flavors of big brands. Customers buy the tobacco loose, purchase papers and filters, and then use the store’s rolling machines to roll up their own cigarettes.
It’s a new type of business designed to get around the high taxes the city charges for pre-rolled cigarettes. However, two of the oldest stores in New York City – one in Chinatown and one in Manhattan – were the target of a city lawsuit claiming they’re illegally dodging the taxes, since customers still walk out of the store with rolled cigarrettes.
We asked an employee of Green Leaf if he was nervous that the city could come after him next, but he said he was unaware of the lawsuit. However, he acknowledged it’s a totally new business model that operates in a grey area, and that, regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, Green Leaf will follow all local laws. Besides, he said, his selling point isn’t the lower taxes, it’s the “organic” and “healthier” nature of his smokes.
Photo by Ned Berke
As word spreads that a 7-Eleven franchise is believed to be the future tenant of the storefront vacated by McDonald’s two weeks ago, owners and employees of the numerous bodegas and smoke shops are increasingly concerned that the corporate convenience giant may run them out of town.
“Some people said your business will close down,” said Maiz Muhammad, a cashier at Bay Quick Mart. “A friend of mine who owns four 7-Eleven’s told me I’ll lose 30 percent of my business to 7-Eleven.”
Keep reading to find out what other businesses are saying.