With a sign now mounted above an empty downtown Duluth storefront, a Twin Cities chain of head shops and other accessories signaled its intention to open a store on Superior Street.
Hideaway sells tobacco and tobacco products, glass pipes, hookahs, hemp and CBD products, incense and other accessories, art and apparel.
There are five metro-area Hideaway locations, including in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood, near the University of Minnesota, as well as in Apple Valley, Coon Rapids, Oakdale and Hudson, Wis.
Hideaway owner Wael Sakallah bought the longtime Saw-Mill Unpainted Furniture building at 118-120 W. Superior St. for $522,500 in August 2017 from former Saw-Mill store owner Richard Pelinka.
The furniture store closed in November 2012 after 36 years on Superior Street. In the summer of 2016, the Fizzy Waters soda and candy shop moved into the space after three years in Canal Park, but it was closed by December of that year.
Sakallah on Thursday said only that the business was “coming soon,” according to Hideaway spokeswoman Amanda Ruch. Sakallah was out of town Thursday, and Ruch did not return calls for further comment.
Despite the prominent sign above the building’s doors, the 5,750-square-foot showroom appeared empty and devoid of activity on Thursday afternoon. A “for lease” sign still hangs in the window, along with “help wanted” signs for construction and general labor.
So far, Hideaway has not applied for a tobacco license from the city of Duluth, according to City Clerk Chelsea Helmer. Once the city has received an application, the issuing process takes anywhere from 14-30 business days, she said.
Last year, Duluth adopted a ban on flavored tobacco — including products currently sold in Hideaway stores. According to the city code, however, stores with 90 percent of revenue coming from sales of tobacco and related devices are exempt from the rule as long as access to the store is restricted to those 21 and older.
Two other downtown Duluth stores sell tobacco or related products — Legacy Glassworks on West First Street and the Electric Fetus on East Superior Street.
The Fond-du-Luth Casino, under the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s jurisdiction, also sells tobacco.