After closing the textbooks and putting away the computers for the day, students are left with time to relax and to forget thinking about that biology test that is only two days away.
Dec. 12, 2012, marked the opening of The Breakaway Lounge, a hookah bar and novelty shop in Murray. The lounge is normally open in the afternoon and doesn’t close until an hour or two after midnight.
Owner Cody Howland said the lounge has appealed to college students and young adults due to their variety of items and the calm and relaxing atmosphere the staff works to maintain.
One of The Breakaway Lounge’s main attractions is hookah, which is a water pipe that is either single or multi-stemmed. It is normally used for smoking flavored tobacco that is called shisha. The tobacco is passed through a vase of water before inhaled.
The pipes normally come in a variety of colors and shapes in order to appeal to different people in different ways. In order to use or purchase the pipes, a person must be at least 18 years old because of the use of tobacco.
“We offer hookah smoking as well as tobacco pipes,” Howland said. “Customers can either rent the hookahs and pipes or they can purchase them for home use. We have all of the accessories to go with them. We also have a novelty shop where we sell a number of things from posters to piercings.”
During the week, the typical day of a student can vary depending on class and work schedule. For businesses, this could pose a problem when it comes to the amount of people who visit and purchase their products.
“We’re normally busiest on Friday and Saturday,” Howland said. “It’s the start of the weekend and students need a place to relax and let go. They break away, so to speak.”
The lounge has been open for almost two years and has managed to thrive despite the number of holidays and breaks that happen throughout the academic year. Managing a business in a place where the population can fluctuate depending on the time of the year can slow everything down, according to Howland.
“We have slow times during the breaks when classes have let out,” he said. “We get through those with the people who stay around and then business picks right back up when classes resume. We also get new people each time, so we end up with better business.”
For Howland, owning and managing a business is something that can be rewarding yet stressful. Howland still prides himself in the relaxing atmosphere he provides students and community members.
“We have a welcoming vibe and it sort of feels like home,” Howland said. “There are different people to meet and I get to learn different stories from each of them. We’ve moved around to various locations and it’s helped accumulate new people and gives me a sense of gratitude for being able to provide a quiet and calm place for students to hang out with friends or just study.”
With the presence of hookah and a bit of silence, “forget yesterday and break away.”
Story by Katrina Yarbrough, Staff writer