Shack in Superior bans smokingWisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle will make an appearance Friday to mark the occasion. Photo: Doug Dalager, owner of the Shack Smokehouse & Grille in Superior, sits outside on the dining patio. (Jed Carlson / firstname.lastname@example.org)
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle will stop by the Shack Smokehouse & Grille at 1 p.m. Friday to proclaim the business a clean-air zone. The establishment will become smoke-free Friday, a year before the statewide smoking ban takes effect.
“It [has] been something I’ve been pondering for a while,” Shack owner Doug Dalager said. He has seen a shift in customer preferences, with more patrons stressing their right to clean air.
“When you’re in a business you learn to give people what they want,” Dalager said.
He saw no need to wait a year to comply with the smoking ban.
“The best time to do it is in the summer when the weather’s nice,” Dalager said. “It gives people time to adjust.” In addition, a new outdoor deck that was finished June 1 provides a spot for smokers to sit.
The move earned praise from many organizations.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said Brenda Beard, community relations manager for the American Cancer Society in northern Minnesota and Douglas County. “It’s really a step forward on his part. He’s definitely working to save lives.”
Lung cancer, she said, is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
“It’s a good business decision to be ahead of the curve,” said Jill Rogers, program coordinator for SmokeFree Wisconsin.
She said it was fantastic the governor would be on hand for the proclamation.
“It’s certainly something to celebrate,” Rogers said.
Doyle praised Dalager’s decision in a news release.
“I am proud to sign the smoke-free proclamation at the Shack,” the governor said. “This is a long-established community resource that has chosen to be ahead of the curve on smoke-free air. I applaud their effort to protect the health of their employees and customers.”
Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, also plan t attend Friday’s ceremony. The two were co-sponsors of the smoking ban, which was signed by Doyle in May. The law will go into effect statewide for all workplaces, including restaurants and taverns July 5, 2010.
The Shack gradually has been restricting areas where smoking is allowed. The dining room and back showroom already were smoke-free. The front bar area has been smoke-free until 9 p.m. daily. Pipes and cigars already have been banned. But smoke is insidious, and it sneaks through even tiny spaces. Dalager has watched it wind its way into the back showroom from the cracks around a serving window.
“It really travels,” he said.
Dalager, who has asthma and hay fever, said choosing to go smoke-free was partly a business decision and partly a health decision.
“I got to the point I just didn’t want to breathe smoke anymore,” said Dalager, who has been in the hospitality business since 1974. “I got tired of breathing smoke.”
The businessman knows he can’t make all customers happy, but feels the move to smoke-free will please the majority.
“The challenge is that we are probably going to lose some customers who don’t understand, unfortunately,” Dalager said, but the change will create a healthier work environment for his 40 employees.
“On my small level I’m just trying to run a good business and keep customers happy,” he said.
Rogers pointed out that two other Superior establishments, Barker’s Island Inn and the Thirsty Pagan, went smoke-free this spring before the statewide ban was passed.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see more businesses take this step,” Rogers said.
The party will continue July 20 when Randy Lee’s Big Time Jazz Orchestra takes the showroom stage. The 20-piece jazz ensemble will perform shows at 6:30 and 8 p.m. with all proceeds going toward the American Cancer Society. The event ties in with the new smoke-free environment, but was planned separately.
“I’m a jazz fan,” Dalager said, and he wanted to bring Randy Lee to the Shack. They teamed up to donate the space and the performance for a cause.
“They’re awesome,” said Beard, who has seen the group perform. “It promises to be a very fun evening.”
Tickets are $10 and can be reserved by calling (218) 529-7627, ext. 15. All proceeds will be used to fund cancer research, education, advocacy and services, including a 24-hour support line for patients to call to learn more about types of cancer (800) 227-2345.