The owner of Isla Vista Deli Mart is looking to smoke the competition with his new brand of hookah tobacco and coals, which is coming to I.V. straight from the Middle East.

Michael Hassan, who owns the Deli Mart at 6549 Pardall Rd., said he will start selling the coals Dec. 15, but still needs approval from state officials who regulate the sale of tobacco products before he can sell the tobacco. Hassan said the new brand, Isla Vista Coals and Tobacco, will be manufactured by a company he owns in Israel.

“I went to the Middle East this summer and bought my own company that makes tobacco,” Hassan said.

The Deli Mart will continue selling other brands of hookah and coals, Hassan said, but he will mainly sell his own product. He said the quality of his merchandise will be better than other brands available at the store, and Isla Vista Coals and Tobacco products will be sold at wholesale prices.

“People will see the difference between my own stuff [and other brands],” Hassan said. “Mine will be better quality and way cheaper than anyone else, especially in I.V.”

Hassan said his coals will last longer than normal coals, and will be priced for under $5 for 2.2 pounds. He said they will be shaped like triangles, which will help keep the hot coals from being knocked off of the hookah.

“That’s so you don’t burn the carpet,” Hassan said. “Apartment owners will be happy and students can save their security deposits.”
Isla Vista Coals and Tobacco [will initially offer 36 varieties of flavored tobacco, Hassan said. He said he would expand the selection if there is enough demand.

“We’re going to start with 36 flavors and I will see how it goes from there,” Hassan said.

Hassan said the I.V. Deli Mart is the only place in I.V. that will carry Isla Vista Coals and Tobacco Products, but he said he eventually hopes to sell his tobacco and coals across the United States.

“I want to make I.V. famous, not for drinking or Halloween, but for something good,” Hassan said.