One year ago, Topeka welcomed the Genie Hookah House and its owner Sammy Valloun.
Valloun’s goal was to provide a safe, fun and entertaining place for teenagers and students over 18-years-old to have fun and relax.
“The reception in Topeka has been great, this was the first hookah place in Topeka and everyone who comes here enjoys it because I have clean tobacco that is made here in America and is inspected by the government,” said Valloun.
Since opening, the hookah house provides several different flavors of tobacco and exotic desserts that people can try. Valloun enjoys discussing the different flavors people can try by mixing the tobacco.
In order to be student friendly, the hookah house does not serve alcohol and maintains no smoking fees, no cover charges and has free Wi-Fi. Valloun prides his establishment in being a relaxed place where everyone can be comfortable.
“Even if you don’t smoke, you can still come here and relax and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee,” said Valloun. “We play low music and we have tables where you can do your homework, everyone is welcome.”
Tirzah Richards, a sophomore Spanish major at Washburn said that the hookah house has a very relaxing atmosphere and it’s a great place to hang out with friends.
“I remember one night with a group of friends (who are crazy outgoing and lots of fun). We were all singing to the music and invited everyone at the hookah house to join us in a wave. The first attempt was poor. But the second was a success,” said Richards. “After that, we started dancing to different songs and almost every group joined in. The waitress was taking requests for songs. Everyone was talking. It was a blast. People who were strangers only minutes before became friends as a result of putting aside feelings of insecurity and discomfort to have a little fun.”
Students with valid school I.D.’s usually get a 10 percent discount but during the month of October, the Genie Hookah House will be donating 10 percent of their proceeds to the Veterans Affairs Hospital here in Topeka. They will also be providing a 20 percent discount to anyone who helps make a donation to the VA hospital. Donations can be made at the hookah house.
“The VA hospital provides a great service to our country and I am glad to try and help out and get the community involved as much as I can,” said Valloun.