Mesmerize is a head shop located in downtown Bowling Green, Oh. The store is one year and two months old and is owned by a family who lives in Columbus. Prior to it being a retail business the location was a small club named Plan B. Plan B was shut down because alcohol was being sold to minors, and they had no liquor license. So I guess Mesmerized is Plan C.
In this establishment bottles have been replaced with bongs. A large portion of this store’s inventory consists of smoking instruments, incense/oils, and clothes. Attire is mostly emblematized with enigmatic art and figures like Bob Marley. Mesmerize is the red-headed step-child of Main St. Surrounding businesses take the safe route by serving coffee, tacos and such. This store on the other hand prides itself on providing the best smoking pipes in the area. Mesmerized manager Mike Husaim rates the popular items as: 1. Clothes, 2. Incense, 3. Detoxifying drinks, 4. Pipes (for tobacco of course).
Along with the success of serving the Bowling Green community, people from Toledo and Findlay are also regular consumers of subculture. The store has also experienced its share of turmoil since the store opened its doors. It was raided in April on the account of suspicion of illegal activity. According to Husaim, the raid was a result of another local business being caught practicing some type of undisclosed wrong doing. But to aid their defense, it is store policy that all customers show their state identification card upon entering. The most recent problem they have faced is the forced removal of detox drinks from their shelves by Bowling Green authorities.
Husaim said there is no statute forbidding the sale of such dietary drinks. He alluded to the fact that they are sold in GNC and outlets such as Wal-Mart, which is a valid point. After nearly five months of deliberation, Mesmorized has not been found guilty of any crimes and continue to improve as a smoke shop.
Another interesting tidbit is that they plan on switching the store’s name from Mesmerize real soon. The change is based upon the notion that the store’s name is exacerbating the relationship between the business and the non-BGSU community.
Manager Mike and I talked about El Presidente’ Obama’s small business aid plans. Mike is already convinced they have one of the best variety stores in the country, but he expressed with great fervor how “awesome” it would be if the private sector is truly given some allowance to expand their enterprise. This store adds some diversity to the downtown area. Give them a break.