Local business thrives in new location

Matt Gardner
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Billed as 'Prince Albert’s Coughy Shop,' Taj’s Emporium recently moved to a new location at 1125 Central Avenue in order to accommodate an expanded selection of products.

A local business specializing in water pipes is expanding its product line at a new Central Avenue location.

Explaining the impetus for the store’s change in setting, Taj’s Emporium co-owner Tyler Hlewka pointed to their greatly increased selection of items.

“We had outgrown our other location,” Hlewka said. “We were having problems with the landlord and we were getting ready to expand into other departments such as home décor, bath and body products and more clothing -- hemp-based clothing -- so that’s what compelled us to move to this location.”

Traditionally, products for sale at Taj’s Emporium have included clothing, incense, books, smoking accessories, vaporizers and what Hlewka referred to as “high-end functional art.”

Before the opening of its new site on Feb. 18, Taj’s was located on 16th Street West -- an area that Hlewka noted tends to experience far less traffic than Central Avenue in terms of both pedestrians and passing vehicles.

“No one drives down that street for the fun of it, right?” Hlewka said of the old location.

“It’s one of those roads that just has mechanics and trades on it, so basically you're only going to get those kind of people. You’re not going to get your everyday person driving down that street to see what there is for shopping.”

With the extra space available at its new downtown location, Hlewka and the store’s other owners plan to stock a range of additional products.

We had outgrown our other location. Tyler Hlewka

“We’re getting into North American Hemp Co. lotions, and they also make bath and body products like shampoo, conditioner and facial creams for revitalizing yourself,” Hlewka said.

“We’re also getting into more clothing,” he added. “A lot of it’s coming out of the States and it’s all made out of hemp … The nice thing about that is you’re supporting the growing hemp industry … Hemp’s going to last a thousand times longer than cotton, so your T-shirts, your jeans, your hats that are made out of hemp are going to last longer than you.”

The change in location appears to be paying off for the store, with Hlewka describing the Central Avenue site as “awesome” and “comfortable.”

While the owners of Taj’s Emporium are currently focused on their expanded product line, they also have other ideas kicking around for potential development in the future.

“We are brainstorming about a hookah lounge, but we want to go to the city first and talk to them and see how they feel about that, if they feel that the city could use something like that,” Hlewka said.

“I think the younger generation could take advantage of something like that. There’s not much to do around Prince Albert, and so that would give some people something to do on the weekend.”

Organizations: North American Hemp Co., Prince Albert

Geographic location: Central Avenue

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