A New Place to Relax

Kennedy Sievers / Staff Writer

Gunnison is getting its first hookah lounge soon with the upcoming opening of The 808. Two Western students, Will Roberts and Mitchell Smith, have taken on the endeavor of introducing the lounge to the Gunnison community.

A hookah is a device that allows the user to smoke flavored tobacco or fruit products. The 808 will currently only sell non-tobacco, 100% fruit products at their shop.

There are two parts to the shop, the Green Gold lounge and Ziran Art Gallery and Tea. The Green Gold lounge handles the hookah side, whereas Ziran Art Gallery and Tea incorporates art, art supplies, tea, and tea supplies. “On a merch wall that we have, we’ll have art supplies, tea supplies, bulk tea,” said Roberts. They’re also “kind of getting into hemp sketchbooks. I want to have more recycled and more hemp materials,” according to Roberts.

There are two options for smoking—single hookahs for individuals and regular sizes to share with friends. They have twenty different flavors to choose from. “It’s $6 for a single hookah, and if you’re sipping on it by yourself, that’ll last for a couple of hours. And we’ll replace your coals for free. If you’re with your friends you can get a regular, and that’s double the single size, and that’s $12,” Roberts said.  

They will be offering full service, so “you just sit there and lounge,” according to Roberts.

They also have teas available. There are regular teas and specialty teas. “For the special teas, we’ve got mix masters who will take all these different herbs and then they’ll mix these special blends we’ve put together. We’ve got a cold remedy, a flu remedy, a pick me up, a focus, and we’ve got one that supposed to be really spiritual,” Roberts said.

A cup of regular tea will be $2, and a cup of special tea is $3. They will also be selling pots of tea, $5 for a pot of regular tea and $7 for a pot of special tea. A pot of tea contains about three cups.

Roberts wants the lounge to be somewhere that students can get homework done and relax. “During the week we really want to keep a study vibe, where people can come in and we might have a documentary or some School of Life or Ted Eds or just Ted Talks on in the background. We have a projector screen and surround sound. It’s going to be really mellow and there’s even a study area in the front,” he said.

They also want to have a place for people to go and have fun on the weekends, so they’re hoping to have a more energetic feel on Fridays and Saturdays.

The 808 will have local artworks for sale also, and they’re making it more affordable for artists to hang their work: “There are artists in the valley who are extremely brilliant and they can take an idea and put it on paper which is just amazing to me, but they can’t afford the $200 hanging fee at an art gallery, so we figured we would provide something a lot cheaper.”

They were thinking of charging approximately “$10 to just hang your art on the wall, then you can consign with us, then sign this contract, and then you get 75% of what it sold for and we get the other 25%. We also have a hanging rail that you’ll pay a little extra for and we’ll frame your piece for you and hang it up.”

Roberts and Smith decided to execute the idea while they still had the time and motivation to do so. “If we didn’t execute, if we did nothing, we figured that what’s going to happen is that this is going to go away, we’re going to forget about it, and then someone else is going to open up a hookah lounge,” said Roberts.

Handling his first year in college and trying to get a business off the ground has been relatively manageable for Roberts. “It hasn’t been that much of a change. I’m at 16 credits hours which isn’t bad. Really, I have enough time for homework; I’m an A/B student. It’s not that bad. I’ve had moments where it’s been like, oh, I spent too much time at the shop so really it’s a balancing act,” he said.

Roberts believes that if someone has a dream, they should try to make it a reality, regardless of when they start: “I just want to motivate other people. If they have an idea or if they have a dream, a vision, that they just realize that time is neutral and works how you work it. They can do anything and I want people to realize that. It’s less about capitalization and more about proving to other people that they can do what they want to do,” he said.

The 808 is located at 808 North Main Street. They have had a few soft openings and are hoping to have their official opening soon. Their hours will be Sunday through Thursday 4-11p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4p.m. to 2a.m. The lounge will be a good place for college students and locals to spend free time and relax together.