Andrew Grafeman is a natural-born businessman. Ever since he was old enough, he has worked in his parents’ store. Now, at 21, he’s studying business at MU and has expanded his parents’ business.
That business is Retro Active, which Grafeman describes as an “alternative smoke shop,” and it’s located at 3806 Buttonwood Drive — the first business of its kind in south Columbia.
“I live right down the street, and I knew this would be the perfect intersection,” Grafeman said. The store is located behind Buckingham Smokehouse BBQ and is near two apartment complexes where many college students live, Gateway and Log Hill Run.
Grafeman found the space and did the work — applying for a business license, setting up utilities, moving showcases and ordering merchandise — all while taking summer classes.
“Ever since the beginning, we knew we weren’t going downtown,” Grafeman said. “[We] wanted something that’s more convenient for people and a safe environment for everyone else.”
Erik Henderson, who lives off Forum Boulevard and came to the store’s grand opening on Oct. 2, said Retro Active’s location is “excellent (and) makes (it) more accessible for different populations than downtown.”
“[We] carry a lot more than the ordinary smoke shop will carry,” Grafeman said. The store sells posters, tapestries, flasks, incense, lighters and jewelry in addition to an assortment of water and tobacco pipes, rolling papers, vaporizers and one-hitters.
“[As far as Columbia locations go], they’ve got the best selection I’ve ever seen,” said Lee Potter of Boonville. Potter left Retro Active’s grand opening on Oct. 2 with a couple of bags of merchandise.
The store has only been open since August 1 but had already expanded 150 square feet as early as September. Although he’s reluctant to give exact numbers, Grafeman says he’s “doing well financially.”