Seems that tobacco shops are opening up everywhere in Jacksonville... but they don't sell all that much tobacco...
In the same year the state banned smoking in restaurants and bars, a boom in tobacco shop openings in Jacksonville has some scratching their heads.
According to Jacksonville business license specialist Lee Humphrey, six businesses with “tobacco” in the name have opened already this year — two in the last week. About the same number opened between 1983 and 2009, according to city records.
A search of new corporations in the N.C. Secretary of State database shows no similar trend in other towns in the state.
Eddie Atalla, owner of the Tobacco Country USA cigar shop chain in Jacksonville, which opened in 1998, said the number of new openings he has observed this year is closer to 20.
And he believes he knows why.
“There aren’t any new smoking customers. Smoking is on the decline,” Atalla said. “Their profit is not coming from selling cigarettes but comes from selling other things that bring in a huge profit, such as spice, K2, salvia, etcetera.”
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