By Colin Foster
TROY — When Nathan Warren came into some money, he decided to use it as an opportunity create something in his hometown that would be beneficial to people in his age group.
Warren, a 2011 Troy High School graduate, recalled the times when he was a young adult, when he and his friends would scour the town on a Friday night looking for something to do. He thought long and hard about what type of social environment was missing in Troy.
His idea was to create Hometown Hookah — a lounge where people can come relax, socialize with friends, hit the hookah, watch television and play games. A hookah is a type of tobacco pipe that originated in Eastern culture.
“I came into some money, and I needed to find something I could do that would be beneficial to community for people in our age group,” Warren said. “The reason I chose to do this was because it was something I could do, sans alcohol, that people under 21 in this town and in surrounding areas could come to. It’s a safer environment than where they’re going to go normally, they can at least come here before they go somewhere else. A lot of the hookah lounges in Dayton serve alcohol anyways, and that’s what starts a lot of their problems.
“I figured a relatively safe environment for people under 21 in this town just doesn’t exist, so I decided I would fill that niche.”
Hometown Hookah, 1441 Stonycreek Road behind Trojan Village Shopping Center, held its grand opening on March 7. Warren said they drew a big crowd on their first weekend, and he’s hoping the business will continue to stay steady. Warren is in business with his fiance Sarah Driver, also a 2011 THS grad, and Tara Corfield.
The lounge, which is filled with bean bags and couches, has a seating capacity of 40, and features two televisions that constantly stream videos through Netflix and Hulu. Additionally, there’s an area where people can play Nintendo 64 — with popular games such as “Super Smash Bros,” “Mario Tennis,” and “Mario Party” available — and a pool table. Hometown Hookah also has board games and free WiFi, and offers various packaged foods and drinks.
“I feel like it really was a huge void that we’re filling,” Warren said. “You’ve got a nightlife in Troy, but you’ve got a nightlife for everyone over 21.”
“Growing up as a teenager, we know the struggle,” said Davis with a laugh.
The idea for Hometown Hookah originated in July of 2013, but it took Warren months of preparation to get the plan off the ground and running. He reached his first lease agreement in November. The building, which now has the artwork of Caitlin Curtis out front, used to be a driv-thru, so turning it into a hookah lounge was a challenge. Prior to getting the lease agreement, the building hadn’t been used for several years. Davis and Warren said it took them nearly two to three months to make all the renovations.
Hometown Hookah offers several different flavors of herbal and tobacco shishas — including brands with no tar, nicotine or tobacco — to suit any taste.
Sure, some may think of a hookah lounge and think of marijuana-related stigma that goes with it. Warren and Davis understand that, but they want people to know that Hometown Hookah is all about creating a positive environment for young people in Miami County.
“This is probably the best environment to defeat that stigma because there’s no alcohol, there’s nothing else to get people rowdy, there’s nothing to get people worked up. They’re just going here and relax with their friends, have a conversation, watch TV, play some video games and then be on their way. That’s what hookah really is,” Warren said.
Hometown Hookah, which can be followed on Twitter @HometownHookah, is open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. To learn more about the lounge, contact them at (888) 971-6924 or visit www.hometownhookah.com
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews