Area 51 Smoke Shop
11525 Midlothian Turnpike, No. 106-A
Second Place: Legends Smoke & Vape
Third Place: Capitol Smoke Richmond
Honorable Mention: Higher Education, Kulture (Hall of Fame Winner)
Perhaps you’re in need of a flux plasma waterpipe. No? Then how about grinders, hand pipes, ashtray magnifying jars or LED trays? First place winner Area 51 Smoke Shop originally opened in 2014 with one location and now has three stores offering everything a head shop should. But it’s the Midlothian location that won our readers’ hearts and lungs because of the wide variety of products from which to choose. Each location has a different set-up featuring integrated LED displays that help to create a glowing atmosphere.
“Our shops definitely comply with the one-stop-shop motto [and] customers leave extremely satisfied because they were able to find exactly what they were looking for,” says president Michael Liberatore. “Based on customer feedback, our shops provide a positive and uplifting vibe.”
Along with good vibes, Area 51 Smoke Shop carries a startling range of over 4,500 products related to smoking, vaping and the supplemental necessities required to enjoy those activities. The goal is to specialize in quality pieces available at exceptional price points but if many of them look like aliens, so be it. “As we’ve progressed in building our company’s logo, we also carry our own in-house logo-branded products like hand pipes, chillums, rolling trays and T-shirts,” Liberatore says. Area 51 also works closely with a company called Black Label Kratom that carries one of the world’s first canned Kratom Teas, a “buzzy” tea made from the leaves of the Kratom tree.
Liberatore uses social media and radio to encourage people to come in and see what’s on tap at Richmond’s favorite head shop. How else are you going to know which Lion Rolling Circus flavored paper is your favorite or, more importantly, when hookah essentials are 20% off?