What used to be a photography business storefront is now the home of Nevada’s newest “convenience store” — Sixth St. Big Discount & Liquor.
“I say it’s a convenience store,” said Jawad Nawaz, 31, of Marion, who will run the store with his wife, Sienna Mally Nawaz, 33. He said payment-wise, he will offer Western Union and EBT options to customers. Product-wise, there’s a lot of unique items in this store. From alcohol, which will include international drink options, to cheap cigarettes and e-cigarette products, the store also has merchandise like Lite 40 Kits, LED light-up false eyelashes, different colored eye contact lenses, cocktail glasses, etc., and it hopes to eventually add international groceries, more slot/gambling machines and a possibly a hookah bar, where people can sit and smoke vapors and tobacco.
“That (hookah bar) will depend on the city’s permission” and if the locals will want it, Jawad said.
As for the smoking devices that are displayed on a high shelf near the cash register, Jawad said those devices are for “tobacco only” and will be sold with a sign above them that says, “tobacco only.” He has checked with authorities about being able to sell them, and said he has been assured that he is OK to do so, and cannot be held responsible if people buy them and choose to use them for illegal products.
So what brings an entrepreneur, selling what many of us would describe as “adult products,” to Nevada’s main street?
The very friendly, smiling and talkative business owner said it was the availability of a building on main street.
“My sister-in-law’s friend has parents living here and she always comes here,” Jawad said. She saw that there was a building for sale and told the Nawazes about it. “We first checked into Nevada” and then made the decision to bring a business to town. “Nevada seems like a nice place and has very nice people,” he said. Because the Nawazes have an infant son, Jawad said they were looking for a good hometown where they can raise their son. They believe Nevada could be the right fit.
Selling cigarettes and alcohol is something that has familiarity to the Nawazes, who recently owned a restaurant and bar establishment in Cedar Rapids. Their restaurant business was called Fusion, a blend of Indian, American and Mexican cuisine, and the bar was Mermaid Lounge. Their businesses were located in an old mansion that used to be Daniel Arthur’s in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Why did they give their restaurant and bar businesses up? “That place is haunted, very haunted,” Jawad said, and he and his wife spent lots of time there, as they lived in the upstairs apartment. “Table clothes moved by themselves,” he said. Then pulling up a photo on his phone, he showed the huge brass mermaid over the bar … a very heavy structure. He said it sometimes floated out into the room on its own. “You could hang something on a wall and have it very securely on the wall, and then two days later it would fall down for no reason.”
After one-and-a-half years of seeing too many strange things, they couldn’t be there anymore, Jawad said. They moved out and started looking at other business options.
Another thing they got into with the restaurant and bar business, Jawad said, was bringing in shows. They’d have theme nights where they’d have a performer, like maybe a Japanese performer, he said, and they’d offer Japanese food and drinks. “We did lots of shows.” He said he’s been interested to meet the owners of the Talent Factory in downtown Nevada, who also do lots of shows.
When they aren’t working, Jawad said he loves playing golf and he and his wife love to travel. For now, they’ll be traveling most every day between Marion and Nevada, until they decide to move closer.
Sixth St. Big Discount & Liquor recently opened its doors for business in Nevada, but the owners plan to have a “grand opening” event later this month. Hours for the business are 9 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.