by Dave Noble, Local Business News
VILLA PARK – Carefully reorganizing a spotless glass shelf full of ceramic marijuana smoking instruments depicting movie characters and famous people like Darth Vader, Bob Marley and “Chronic Man”, reefer paraphernalia and tobacco store owner Stacy Reynolds told a group of clearly distracted reporters perusing the “Bowls and Pipes” section of Discount Smoke Zone on Sunday that Villa Park’s head shops are gearing up for Black Friday by advertising deep discounts and early shopping hours the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season.
“Walmart, Target and the 5-Star Swap Mart won’t be the only local shopping destinations packed with customers on Friday,” said Reynolds, who last year rented a 25-foot inflatable bong (A smoke filtration device also known as a “water pipe”, a “billy”, a “bing” or a “moof” made of clay, ceramic, plastic tubing, PVC or a host of other materials that is used for smoking cannabis) on Black Friday and placed it in front of her store’s St. Charles Road location, which resulted in a new one-day sales record.
“We were sold out of every pot-smoking device and candy bar by noon,” boasted Reynolds, who opened at 6:00 a.m. and advertised cannabis-crushing devices known as “grinders” for $3.99 and hydroponic equipment for the cultivation of marijuana starting at $49.99. “We had over 100 people standing outside the door for hours before we opened.”
A few hundred feet west of Discount Smoke Zone, No Limit Smoke owner Amit Sidana plans to open at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night to get an edge over his nearby competitor for Black Friday sales.
“I feel guilty for making our staff work on Thanksgiving,” said Sidana, who is selling 18” Weed Star beaker bongs featuring a reinforced fixed downstem with drum diffuser for only $137.00 (while supplies last), which is less than half of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. “But there’s a lot of competition around here for pot-smoking customers, so we all have to make some personal sacrifices for business purposes.”
Further south, Roosevelt Tobacco is promoting the big shopping day as “Fried Friday” by giving away a free pack of Hempire single wide rolling papers to its first 300 customers. Assistant manager Mike Tenace is counting on his store’s plethora of cannabis culture-related items to separate Roosevelt Tobacco from the competition.
“We have weed magazines, psychedelic art, blacklight-responsive posters and a lot of other cool stuff,” said Tenace, who noted that the Taco Bell located next door will also draw pot-smokers into his store for the Black Friday sale, which includes a “Marijuana Advent Calendar” with 25 windows that each reveal a picture and the name of a highly potent marijuana strain. “Peronsally, my favorite days in the calendar are Sour Diesel, White Widow, and Blackberry Kush.”
While the competition between Villa Park’s head shops continues to increase each year, everyone agrees that the unique customer demographic makes Black Friday shopping for weed paraphernalia a lot less hectic than what customers experience at national retailers and “big box” stores.
“I’ve found that the customers on Black Friday are really patient and somewhat lethargic,” noted Reynolds. “Their paranoia can be a little hard to deal with, but at least I’m not breaking up any fights over the last one-hitter on the shelf.”