By ANDREW MAY
KENNESAW, Ga. – Kennesaw resident Brion Craig Jr., 22, had a vision to open his own business, and within a year, in fall of 2014, his vision was realized when he opened Premier Hookah Lounge. Hookah, a flavored mix of tobacco smoke and water vapor, is of growing popularity with college-age adults.
Located on North Roberts Road, Premier Hookah Lounge provides customers with a relaxing and enjoyable lounge experience. Patrons can watch their favorite sports games, enjoy their favorite hookah flavors or just sit with friends and chat.
While rewarding, the year that it took Craig to open Premier Hookah Lounge was not without its struggles.
“One of the obstacles I consistently struggled with throughout the process was my age,” Craig said. “I was 20 at the time that I was trying to pull the resources together so trying to get loans to back my business was tough due to how young I am.”
Building the Business
Craig has been fortunate to have a support system in his family. His dad, Brion Craig Sr., helped his son design and build the lounge. Together, they replaced the ceiling of the building, repainted the walls and mounted four 52-inch TVs around the lounge.
“The space was originally used as a tattoo studio, so there were still remnants from the previous business,” Craig Sr. said. “The challenge when creating the business to what it is today was trying to transform the space into something we were satisfied with.”
Craig Jr. not only received help from his father, but from his two brothers as well. Josh and Josiah Craig help run the business every night, catering to the needs of customers.
“From the beginning I supported my brother’s decision to open a business and to be able to help him achieve his vision meant so much to me,” said Josiah Craig.
Premier Hookah Lounge opened Oct. 17, 2014, and since then maintaining the business has been a challenge for Craig Jr. One way he has found success is by hosting events such as concerts at his lounge. These concerts help to promote his business and, by charging an admission fee, Craig can make some extra money.
Keeping an active online presence, an important strategy for businesses to attract customers today, has been key to Craig Jr.’s success.
“I’m very proactive on Twitter and Instagram because [of] the way it can spread from person to person,” he said. “If a person follows Premier Hookah Lounge on either social media platform they can see what the experience is like and what promotions we offer on certain nights.”
Websites such as Yelp! that help customers report their experiences from Premier Hookah Lounge online are an important source for feedback, he said.
Despite his success, Craig Jr. still doesn’t feel like he’s reached his ultimate goals.
“I don’t consider my business successful yet, truly,” he said. “I want to keep Premier Hookah Lounge for several years before I consider this endeavor successful.”