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New Business Update: Hookah Lounge offers peaceful place to smoke

New Business Update: Hookah Lounge offers peaceful place to smoke

Buck Jennings wants to get one thing straight from the get-go: There will be no marijuana smoking in his Ninth Street Hookah Lounge.
“That won’t happen,” Jennings said.
“It has a very specific smell,” co-owner Marcia Davis added, “and if someone did do that, it would be over in a minute.”

[/caption] There also will be no alcohol or loud music in the lounge, which opened on Feb. 19 across the street from The Blue Note.
“I hope people feel that they can come in, hang out and de-stress,” Davis said. “It’s a comfy, cozy place with big couches and fireplaces. There’s Wi-Fi, so people can study if they’d like. We want to keep it a nice, calm environment where you can visit with your friends and enjoy a great smoking experience.”
The city’s smoking ban created a loophole for shops that derive the majority of their income from selling tobacco products, so patrons can light up regular cigarettes when they’re not puffing on hookah pipes, which have long tubes that pass through a jar of water that cools the smoke.
Davis said she fell in love with a hookah lounge near her house in Chicago, and she and Jennings set out to open one of their own. While doing some research, Davis discovered that Columbia didn’t have a hookah lounge and has been ranked as the best city in Missouri to start a business.
Owner Buck Jennings, left, and Mike Frieden go over a design for the lounge’s sign.
Jennings is from Bowling Green in northeast Missouri and commutes daily to Columbia, and Davis comes down from Chicago every weekend. They both plan to move to Columbia soon.
They said the small-town atmosphere and the excitement of getting to know all of their customers attracted them to Columbia instead of a larger city such as St. Louis.
“Opening weekend there were so many people here that I started seating people together that didn’t know each other,” Davis said, “and next thing you know, they’re Facebook friends.”
The lounge serves 30 flavors of tobacco such as apple, cherry, coffee and rose. Six non-tobacco products with fruit flavors will also be available. The cost is $15 for a set up, which includes a loaded hookah, plus $5 per person. Reloads cost $9 each. The business will also sell T-shirts, hookahs and hookah supplies. For more information, call 822-8219, or visit


Signal 88 Security

The first franchise of the Omaha-based security contractor has opened in Columbia, where signal 88 is code for “situation secure.” They provide roving patrols, site security and emergency response.

Muddy Boots Design Company

Stephanie Hall of Mark Hall Fine Cabinetry has started Muddy Boots Design Company with her friend Angie Bennett. They create hand-painted, custom picture frames. Contact: Stephanie Hall, 573-874-6086, [email protected].

Race Dogs now pool hall dogs

David Hestir's famous Race Dogs will always be available at Billiards now.
From right, Kyle Bogden, Brandon Dittier, Lauren Hix, Sara Welch and Alex Barbour at the Hookah Lounge.

For several years now, Dave Hestir has been selling hot dogs, Italian sausages, bratwurst and popcorn from a sidewalk cart hauled to various locations in Columbia with a lot of foot traffic. All that time, he’s been looking for an affordable indoor space to rent.
This winter, Hestir and the Wagner family, owners of Billiards on Broadway, came up with a cooperative venture. Hestir said he now has “a mothership,” a place indoors to grill and sell his dogs. The pool hall now has an expanded menu and will get marketing help from Hestir.

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