'Stinky hookah smell' riles Rapid City businesses"Closed due to stinky hookah smell" proclaimed a handwritten note posted Wednesday in the window of Susan Grubl's cosmetics store, accompanied by a drawing of a frowning face.
RAPID CITY (AP) — A cosmetics shop, a massage business and a weight-loss center are among the businesses that are sharing downtown office space with a couple of tobacco parlors — and their owners don't like it.
"Closed due to stinky hookah smell" proclaimed a handwritten note posted Wednesday in the window of Susan Grubl's cosmetics store, accompanied by a drawing of a frowning face.
"I thought the building was on fire, it smelled so bad," Grubl said. "I don't feel like I should open my business while I can't stand to be there. How can I expect my customers to be there?"
The hookah lounges cater to people who like to use water pipes to smoke tobacco. Two have opened within the last month in the historic brick Buell Building in downtown Rapid City, and other tenants say the lounges are filling the building with smoke.
Heather Payden-Williams, owner of the Art of Massage, a business upstairs from the lounges, said the smoke has left her with reddened eyes and a "massive headache."
"I'm selling wellness, so I don't appreciate having to drift through a smoke cloud to get my work done," Payden-Williams told the media.
Spencer Seljeskog, the owner of one of the hookah lounges, Sahara Nights, said he is working to get a new ventilation system installed inside his business.
His lounge is located in the basement of the two-story building. The second, Classified Hookah, is on the ground floor.
The building's owner, Ron Bazac, said he was working to remedy the problem. Bazac lives in the Miami area.
"This is something I need to do in the proper way," he said. "I just hope everybody will be patient and everything will be solved in the end."
Smoking is normally banned in South Dakota businesses. However, tobacco retailers are exempted as long as they get at least 65 percent of their business from tobacco sales and do not allow drinking on the premises.