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Eclectic offerings found at Stevenson shop | Wally's World
You may have noticed that little store called Top Smoke across Stevenson Avenue from Starbucks but, if you were like me, you never went inside to see what it’s all about. Well, the other day I walked in the place and, believe me, owner Paul Kim operates an interesting shop.
As you’d presume, tobacco is the store’s mainstay and, during my brief survey of the inventory, five or six people dropped by to purchase packs of cigarettes. There are cans of loose tobacco for those individuals who still smoke pipes or for those who prefer to roll their own from a special blend. The place offers a wide selection of cigars- – more, I’m sure, then any other business in town – from Central and South America. There are even Cuban cigars, which Kim obtains after they’ve been “laundered” through the Dominican Republic.
Then, of course, there’s an ample collection of all the paraphernalia that surrounds the use of tobacco. For customers from the older school, Kim has a variety of Zippo lighters, decorated with signs of the zodiac or with musical legends like Elvis and the Beatles, beside an assortment of throw-away Bic butane lighters. There are a number of attractive, metal cigarette cases that you may recall seeing in movies from the 1930s, but I’ve never seen any of them in actual social settings. I stumbled across a display of cigarette filter tubes that we so unique to my experience I didn’t know what they were.
There’s a large assortment of water pipes and bongs that reminded me of the “head shops” of my hippie days. Some of are quite beautiful. Prominently displayed behind this equipment is a boldly printed sign: “For Tobacco Only.” (Yeah, sure.) Scattered among the glassware are sticks of incense of various scents, almost as though the burning of incense is an integral part of the water-pipe experience. Talk about a flashback to the 1960s!
Kim also carries a wide selection of beer but, given the limited space available in his cramped quarters, he can only offer a few cans of each brew. There’s also an assemblage of stainless steel hip flasks – again, something I’ve never run across in my social circles –and some unique shot glasses.
And finally, wandering far afield from the booze and tobacco products, there are some pellet air guns that are replicas of AK-47 assault rifles and .45 handguns which are a bit more intimidating than the Red Ryder BB gun I had back in the day. Stranger still, a number of attractive swords and sheaths are hanging hither and yon.
All in all, the shop has a wide and interesting inventory that’s unlike any other local business. You might want to wander about the place when you have a little free time.
When the sale of pot becomes legal in the next few months, it probably won’t be sold in state stores like liquor once was, but instead will be sold by individuals who are issued state licenses. Being a true entrepreneur, Kim is ready for any opportunities this may present.