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Retail Detail: Bongs, bowls, and body jewelry 

Inkster's The Station has it all!

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Photo by Kelley ONeill

Way down on Michigan Avenue in Inkster, where there's not a ton of retail activity going on, there's a stand-alone storefront clad in antiqued wood planking bearing the name "The Station Boutique." A large display window showcases some mannequins that look straight out of a 1991 Montgomery Ward, except they're dressed in hot pink pleather lingerie and they're standing in front of giant marijuana leaf posters.

The storefront isn't one that you'd just happen upon and decide to stop into: It's more of a, uh, destination. Customers usually have a distinct purpose for heading into the head shop/sex toy store combo and that purpose is usually to buy a bong or a dildo. In the market for neither, I felt a tumbling awkwardness as I headed in to review the shop for this column. This is the 420 issue after all.

The place has that distinct head shop smell, an olfactory assault of incense and patchouli musk that's surely masking other odors. It's kind of dark and gloomy inside, but there's a cat napping on the countertop, so it can't be that bad of a place. The wood flooring seems to match the planks on the outside of the shop, which makes the whole place feel like it should be named The Saloon instead of The Station.

The front room is packed with racks of pro-marijuana clothing, glass cases filled with body jewelry, rings, leather embossed cuffs, and other such items. There's a large Zippo lighter display and another case has rolling papers and other paraphenalia. There's a rack of hats, and some bags from Made in Detroit, and a slew of other items that make the small space a little overwhelming, but I found a septum ring to buy, so all was not lost.

Behind the counter is a collection of just about every incense scent imaginable, plus odor-eraser candles, and leather-bound journals. There are vape pens, dream catchers, and "Stick Sacks." Nearer to the back of the store bongs ranging in size and price scale the wall.

Through a doorway hung with beads is an even larger selection of bongs. They come in a rainbow of colors and some are decorated with cartoon characters or logos from popular shows like Hello Kitty or The Walking Dead. There are a ton of pretty glass water pipes that your mom might mistake for an abstract knick knack and back in this even darker room is where you'll find their vast stock of bowls that come in a variety of materials like wood or glass.

As if in no way out of the ordinary, this room also houses The Station's stock of gag balls, vibrators, whips, paddles, and trashy lingerie. Instead of bongs and bowls, the glass cases on this side of the shop are filled with lube, condoms, and other small sex toy trappings.

The Station has been in operation for over 40 years, so it's no wonder they've adapted to changing markets and clientele by offering more than the usual head shop merchandise. As the economic tides ebb and flow, this place has evolved to keep the customers coming and that's more than admirable, though it seems a touch odd in practice. One thing's for sure, however, those in search of a large selection of "smoking accessories" won't be disappointed in the options available here.

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October 21, 2020

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