When you walk up to Mr. Nice Guy Glass Gallery in South End’s Business District, the first thing that greets you is a big warning sign on the door. It explicitly states how old you must be to enter and other rules patrons must obey. To many, this kind of warning means there could be trouble ahead, but when you enter the clean, well-lit space Mr. Nice Guy Glass Gallery seems different than head shops with similar warnings.
Mr. Nice Guy’s opening caused quite a stir amongst members of the community. Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville took particular issue with the gallery, suggesting its proximity to Nishuane School and the potential illegal use of the products it sells were troubling enough to warrant its closure. Dr. Baskerville and several other community members were quick to classify Mr. Nice Guy as a “head shop,” but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover Mr. Nice Guy Glass Gallery is far different than your typical smoke shop.
Abdo Farghaly, the owner of Mr. Nice Guy, originally opened the shop in Elizabeth, N.J. with his father. Then called Mr. Nice Guy Smoke Shop, the store sold hookahs and similar products. His father had owned a hookah bar when he lived in Egypt, and the store became a way for the two of them to bond. After the death of his father, due to smoking related complications, Fargahly decided he would focus on selling glassware rather than the cheaper tobacco products. After seeing different pieces by famous artists, Farghaly admits, “I just fell in love with it.” But the location of Mr. Nice Guy Smoke Smoke Shop, began to get in the way of Fargahly’s new business model. Realizing the town of Elizabeth was not the best place for attracting the type of customers he sought, Farghaly decided to relocate. Continue Reading