A Non-Typical Smoke Shop

PROFILES May 2021

May 15, 2021

Inside, you’ll find an extensive assortment of merchandise ranging well beyond the offerings of a typical smoke shop.

“Smokes Unlimited” proclaims the sign above the front door of a shop on the southeast corner of North Federal Highway and Pembroke Road/Moffett Street in Hallandale Beach. Inside, you’ll find an extensive assortment of merchandise ranging well beyond the offerings of a typical smoke shop.

Looking for incense? Smokes Unlimited has it. Some two dozen different fragrances are available. “Just light a stick and let its aroma dissipate cooking odors and freshen the air,” says the shop’s co-owner, Shafiul Azam. Incense also may be used for aromatherapy and meditation, and as an insect repellent.

Another unusual item on sale at Smokes Unlimited is kratom, made from the broad, dark-green leaves of a tropical tree, Mitragyna speciosa. A member of the coffee family, it grows in Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and elsewhere in southeast Asia, and has a long history of traditional use in parts of that region to manage pain and opioid withdrawal and to counteract fatigue.

In small amounts, kratom produces an increase in alertness, energy, and sociability. In larger amounts, its effects include a decrease in pain, an increase in pleasure, and a sedative effect. Despite its mind-altering psychotropic effects and a tendency to be habit-forming, kratom is not illegal. You can buy it in leaf form for brewing tea, as a powder, in capsules, and as an extract or gum.

Smokes Unlimited also sells more typical smoke-store products such as:
• Disposable e-cigarettes – known by the names fume, HQD, Vcan, and many others -- containing “juice” for 1,000 to 4,500 puffs.
• Reusable e-cigarettes and the juices to refill them.
• Commercially made tobacco cigarettes.
• Premium papers for hand-rolling one’s own cigarettes.
• Handmade cigars with tobaccos from multiple locations around the globe, including Connecticut, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
• Hookahs (water pipes), a type of smoking system that originated in India, spread throughout Persia and the Arabic world, and today is increasing in popularity in America.
• The special shisha tobacco preparations to smoke in the hookahs, containing flavored tobacco or some tobacco-free herbal mixture with a molasses base, plus charcoal to create the combustion.
• Lighter fluids and lighters, including butane torches.

Cannabis Products
Other featured items at Smokes Unlimited include products from legal strains of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, that don’t produce a “high” and don’t require a doctor’s prescription. These items contain cannabidiol (CBD) or Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol. “They come as pre-rolled cigarettes, gummies, and tinctures – oils you put under your tongue,” Azam explains. “You use them for relaxation, sleep, and pain relief. They’re available in doses ranging from 1,000 mg to 2,500 mg.”

Just so you know, Delta-8 is a very close relative of Delta-9-Tetrahydro-cannabinol, a hemp strain popularly known as marijuana. Delta-8 is legal in most places, including Florida, and some consumers prefer Delta-8, alleging that it’s more effective than CBD.

In Florida, Delta-9 is legal only for medical purposes and requires users to register with the state and to obtain a recommendation from a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy who has been certified by the state as a marijuana physician. Smokes Unlimited is not a medical marijuana dispensary and does not sell Delta-9.

A Work in Progress
Azam came to the U.S. from Bangladesh 11 years ago. Before emigrating, he earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Internation-al Islamic University Chittigong, the largest top-graded government-approved private university in Bangladesh. Upon arrival in the U.S., he spent almost five years working in a grocery store before beginning a commercial collaboration with a fellow Bangladeshi business partner, Sajib Choudhury.

Today – in addition to the Hallandale Beach Smokes Unlimited – Azam and Choudhury own other smoke shops in Dania Beach and Hollywood, and convenience stores in Delray Beach and Pompano Beach.

Three years ago Azam attended a business expo in Miami and learned from a business broker about the availability of Midway Food Store, a 2,100-sq-ft convenience store in a strategic high-traffic location just south of the boundary between Hollywood and Hallandale Beach. The partners bought it and spent a year operating it. Then they began rebranding it as Smokes Unlimited and adapting it to their own business model. “We’re changing the business little by little,” Azam says.

Gone now are Midway Food Store’s canned goods, groceries, and limited fast-food menu. Merchandise remaining from its previous convenience-store existence includes a diverse inventory of beverages (beer, wine, flavored vodkas, mixers, energy drinks, sodas, and fruit juices) in a row of coolers lining the entire back wall of the store, and a modest selection of packaged pastries, bags of salty snacks, candies, over-the-counter pain relievers, baseball caps, boxes of feminine hygiene products, and plastic packages of underwear.

The new sign above the front entrance mentions a lounge, although that hasn’t happened yet. “Because of COVID-19 we couldn’t get a lounge permit now, but we went ahead and put it on the sign anyway,” Azam explains.

For more information, visit:
Smokes Unlimited
1050 N. Federal Hwy.
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Phone: 305-767-8139
Hours: 6 AM to 2 AM daily