Columbia’s newest smoke shop took advantage of this month’s most popular unofficial holiday to host its grand opening.
Grassroots Smoke Shop, located on 203 N. Tenth St., gave out free Hot Box cookies and a variety of free candy to customers entering the shop, which officially opened at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. Starting at 8:20 p.m., Grassroots raffled off a piece of glassware every hour. Also on hand for the store’s grand opening were Missouri DJ Spankalicious and local glass artist Shawn Palmer.
“I thought the glassblower especially brought a certain edgy ambiance to the building,” sophomore Colin Hope said. “Not to mention the DJ booth was always cranked up, so it brought a really celebratory atmosphere to the place.”
Grassroots General Manager Max Stewart, who graduated from MU in May with a marketing degree, said he was happy with the opening’s turnout.
“It’s been a pretty decent turnout,” Stewart said. “I didn’t really have expectations, because we didn’t know what to expect. We’ve had a pretty steady flow of people coming in and out.”
Grassroots' layout is pretty basic, making it easy for customers to find the merchandise they wish to purchase. Glassware and pipes are on the left side of the store, T-shirts and clothing are on the right side of the store and the middle is empty to allow customers room to view the assortment of products.
Although there are half of a dozen other smoke shops in Columbia, Stewart said Grassroots’ ambience of bringing a West Coast feel to Missouri and the quality of his shop’s products will help it stand out from other shops in the area.
“We have many specialized pipes unique to our store,” Stewart said. “I think that our selection of water pipes is going to be probably the largest in Columbia.”
As well as water pipes, Stewart said Grassroots offers only the highest-quality glassware.
“The only brands we carry are Roor, Govern-mint, Hi-Si, PHX and Hitman,” Stewart said. “There’s not much of a drop-off between our best products and our worst products.”
Hope said high prices might deter the student population from frequenting Grassroots.
“Everything there was really expensive,” Hope said. “I think it’s something meant for the older, wiser tobacco enthusiasts of Columbia who have more money to spend on pipes and glass art."
Although Hope said he didn’t plan on shopping at Grassroots any time soon, he also said he was glad he came to the store’s opening.
“It’s not practical for students, but it was still a fun event,” Hope said.
Grassroots is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.