Hideaway 4 opens in Hudson
It all started in 2000 with an entrepreneurial spirit and a small convenience store in Minneapolis.
When veterans returning from the Middle East started asking for hookahs and the accessories that go with them, Wael "Wally" Sakallah added a small inventory to his convenience store. Soon the smoking accessories were out-selling the rest of the inventory. The first Hideaway was opened in Dinkytown near the University of Minnesota.
"I had success with that location," said Sakallah. That was soon followed by the opening of Hideaway 2 in South Minneapolis and Hideaway 3 in Oakdale, Minn. The convenience store was sold in 2004. In the beginning, he was importing one container of hookahs from Egypt which lasted a couple of months. Now they arrive every three weeks and they sell up to 300 hookahs a day.
On Oct. 10, Hideaway 4 opened in Hudson on Coulee Road in the former location of Elizabeth's Fine Jewelry. The newest location reflects Sakallah's artistic sensitivity and attention to detail. The retail space underwent extensive remodeling which began in March. The hand-brushed aluminum is a highlight.
Along with 150 flavors of tobacco, the shop features every smoking accessory, from an extensive selection of hookahs to glass cases full of pipes, of every style and shape -- traditional wood to hand-blown glass.
"Because of the war in Iraq the soldiers were introduced to hookahs," said Sakallah. "It is a very social event."
"The tobacco for hookahs can be fragrant. It is mixed with a number of ingredients including honey," said Sakallah. "People want this product. For me I have never smoked in my life."
In addition to the four Hideaway shops Sakallah owns a wholesale company, as well as the Stone Arch Glass Blowing Studio, and a Middle Eastern restaurant, Wally's Falafel and Hummus in Dinkytown.
A resident of the Twin Cities for 18 years, he is no stranger to Hudson, having gone to school at Menomonie. Sakallah paints and draws along with having a master's degree in psychology.
"I always liked Hudson," said Sakallah. "I like to come to Wisconsin; it has more green space. It is a great place to relax." Sakallah's wife Heidi, a native of Bismarck, N.D., and a website designer, met him when a mutual friend introduced them.
"He was in need of a website," said Heidi. "But he got a lot more than a website." She currently handles the marketing for him.
The store also offers up to 250 different kinds of herbs from ones that are edible, for teas to those that you can smoke.
Hideaway 4, located at 2117 Coulee Road, is open Monday thru Thursday from noon to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. For more information, call (715) 808-0491 or go to www.thehideawayonline.com.