A Californian Tobacco Shop And LGBTQ Center Form Unlikely Partnership

The move initially raised eyebrows

Seated next to each other, they look like an odd couple.

But two community leaders have forged an unlikely partnership — and it’s helping LGBTQ youth in unexpected ways.

When the popular Crema Coffee on The Alameda closed one of stores, most San Joseans expected the space to be filled by another cafe or restaurant. Instead, a smoke shop moved in — right next to the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center, where many youth gather for support and resources.

While the move initially raised eyebrows, the neighbors are making it work. On a recent afternoon, Gabrielle Antolovich, president of the center, and Craig Stanley, owner of Mission Pipe Smoke Shop, joked about the number of lesbians who frequent the smoke shop.

“There’s a lot of people in our community who like cigars,” Antolovich said. “You’re gonna have to have a gay night.”

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CHAMPS Smoke Shop Report, or ‘CSS’, online source for the updates and innovations on the smoke shop scene. News and information are geared strictly to accessories retail channels, with distribution limited to retailers that Smoke Shop products and wholesalers.


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