Those who smoke now have another way to buy cigarettes — by rolling their own. U Roll Smokes, located at 1200 Macon Road, is a new business that opened in Perry in February and is also coming to Warner Robins in May. The store has a cigarette rolling machine that can roll a carton of cigarettes in about eight minutes, according to manufacturer RYO Filling Station.
Manager Gail Wilson said her uncle, owner Talmadge Long, came up with the idea to open up a few shops. “My uncle lives in Ohio, where they have a lot of tobacco stores that have these machines,” Wilson said. Customers buy the tobacco and the filtered tubes, and rent time on the machine to stuff the tobacco into the tubes.
A carton at U Roll Smokes costs $23.99. The machine has a touch screen that explains what to do, which makes it simple for the customer to operate. The shop also sells hand rollers, but Wilson said it takes a person about two hours to fill a carton, if they are skilled.
Wilson is not a smoker. She relies on her staff and customers to tell her about the quality of the product she sells. “My employees are guinea pigs,” she said.
The store sells several varieties of tobacco and tubes, from strong to mild. Customer Jason Jones said he tells his friends, “If you are gonna smoke, be cleaner and cheaper.”
Supporters say cigarettes they roll themselves do not contain chemicals that are required to make cigarettes fire safe.
Rick Swain, also a customer, said he can tell a difference in smoking his machine-rolled cigarettes as well. One of Wilson’s goals is to have the cheapest tobacco in town. She said she understands these are hard economic times, and rolling cigarettes is a cheaper alternative to buying best cigarettes brands.
Wilson said she just attended a tobacco trade show in Las Vegas where she ordered humidor cabinets for cigars. “We want to become a full-fledged tobacco shop” with pipes, high-end cigars and tobacco accessories, she said.