Hookah cafe could open in two weeks

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2013

After a weekend event, Aposha Cafe & Hookah Lounge owners are more determined than ever to see their business succeed.

“I knew people were going to support us, but to see everyone there, I was thrilled,” said owner Richard Jones.

Jones and his business associates held a free open house at the Love Street location on Saturday evening where about 100 people funneled in and out to get a glimpse of the newest downtown Troy business. Jones said the business advertised on the Aposha Facebook page and passed out a few flyers.

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“We gave out packets to people who came in to let them know how we’d like to partner with the city and the university,” Jones said.

Among the plans for Aposha to become a contributing community business are to offer monthly coffee meetings for downtown business leaders so ideas can be exchanged in an effort to grow the area. Jones also said Aposha will host an essay contest each semester for Troy University students. The top male and top female contestants, as judged by professors, will have their books paid for that semester. Jones said the business has also been in contact with the university to offer internship opportunities in the fields of business, management and hospitality.

“The main thing we want everyone to know is that this will be a cultural exchange,” Jones said. “There will be people here from all backgrounds.”

Aposha must complete construction on a second bathroom for the business before they can have final approval on a liquor license and business license, so there was no alcohol served at the Saturday event. However, Jones said some community members did try hookah for the first time.

Jones said he hopes Aposha will be open within the next two weeks and, despite the city’s potential smoking ban, the business will operate with hookah when it opens.

Jones thinks of the possibility of a complete smoking ban, discussed at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, as just another bump in the road to opening the business.

“We will go to the very end, whatever it takes,” Jones said. If it ends up going through, everyone will know that we fought to the very end and we’ll still end up with a very nice, upscale cafe and bar.”