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Facelift, new items boost Happy Daze

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Katrina LoPiccolo displays a hookah pipe next to a beer cooler. Both have been added to the Happy Daze lineup.
(T-G Photo by David Melson) [Order this photo]
Facelift, new items boost Happy DazeThe new, yet established, Happy Daze store isn't exactly "rolling" along anymore, but it's here to stay, co-owner Jan LoPiccolo says.

Happy Daze, in the shopping center off North Main Street across from Lowe's, opened several years ago as U Roll Em Smoke Shop.

Today, with a different name and new focus, they sell a wider line of products ranging from beer to lottery tickets and, yes, cigarettes.

Beer and lottery

"We've added beer -- that's the big one -- and lottery tickets," LoPiccolo said. "We're still here and have what we used to have."

A larger emphasis is being placed on electronic cigarettes.

"Our brand is Totally Wicked. We get a lot of customers looking," LoPiccolo said.

Cigars, pipes, flavored pipe tobacco, hookahs and shisha (the tobacco used in hookahs) are in full supply.

Lopiccolo's late husband, Mike, opened the store as a smoke shop, emphasizing machines allowing customers to roll their own cigarettes at a lower price than pre-packaged national brands. The locally-rolled cigarettes were legally termed "smokes."

Big change

Then things changed -- drastically.

"They passed a law saying you can only roll at home," LoPiccolo said. "We had to change the store so we sell beer, lottery tickets...more like a convenience store."

During its grand re-opening last weekend a beer bong and a rolling machine were given away.

A small rolling machine, that is, for home use -- not one of the two large ones formerly used in the store.

"We wouldn't give those away," LoPiccolo said. "They're in the garage. I wish I could sell them."

The tighter laws almost eliminated the market for the machines, but it's still totally legal for smokers to roll their own at home.

Roll your own

Many types of loose tobacco, and the tubes for home-rolled smokes, are still available at the store.

"In some states there are clubs where users pay a small fee," LoPiccolo said. "It's like a social club and they pay a fee to use the machine.

"Tennessee isn't real friendly about it. A couple of places in Nashville have applied as a non-profit entity -- 501 (c) (7)."

The changes caused a dropoff in business for awhile, LoPiccolo said.

"We probably lost some customers who came in to roll and thought we went out of business. We're still here.

"I thought about closing but two of my daughters needed jobs so we're here."