Meet Your Merchant: Business is smokin’ at hot new spot
You’ll have to follow the flashing lights to Grass Valley’s newest smoke shop.
The Hot Spot Smoke Shop, on Colfax Avenue in Grass Valley, is owned by Manjit Singh. He and his brother, Tony, spokesman for the shop, have lived in Sacramento for 20 years and have been in the tobacco business for 18 years.
A rack of Hustler and Playboy magazines stands by the door. On one wall hangs bright blue and orange gas masks, equipped with a pipe to allow the user to smoke without contaminating the surrounding air. Hookahs, rolling papers and glass and wooden pipes line shelves in a case.
Cigarettes and loose tobacco are their biggest sellers, and the Singhs carry all the major brands.
The Hot Spot serves customers age 18 and over, and all products are legal and meant for use with tobacco only, Tony Singh stressed.
Owning two cigarette stores in Sacramento, the Singhs were contacted by the owner of the Colfax Avenue property formerly occupied by the Millienium Smoke Shop when that business relocated to East Main Street in Grass Valley. After looking at the vacant building, the brothers, not deterred by the lack of customer parking in that area, decided to open for business.
According to Tony Singh, they were the first smoke shop in Grass Valley licensed under a new ordinance for stores that sell tobacco products.
The ordinance was designed to give the city teeth to fight tobacco sales to minors, City Administrator Dan Holller said. It allows officials to conduct surprise compliance checks, which sometimes includes a minor trying to buy tobacco.
Business has been good so far, with local and out-of-towners visiting the store, Tony Singh said. He attributes the early success to good customer service and “unbelievable prices,” kept low by adding a fair but modest profit margin.
Since opening two weeks ago, feedback has been positive.
“Everyone likes the prices. Customers tell us that, at these prices, we can do well here,” said Tony Singh.
The Hot Spot Smoke Shop is at 440 Colfax Ave. in Grass Valley, (530) 274-8000.
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