Happy Valley Glass House Finds New Home, Identity
Happy Valley Glass House has a new location and a new direction for the glassware industry.
Its new location, 110 Hetzel Street, used to be home to the dimly-lit tattoo parlor across from the UniMart — but the new store will be quite bright if all goes according to plan. Nicholas Hordov, a lifelong State College resident and former Penn State student, is planning an interactive approach to pipes and smoking accessories. The plan includes a window separating the main floor of the store from a glass-blowing studio where customers can watch their customized pieces come to life.
“Whether they want to buy something that costs $2,000 or $20, I want them to know they can come in and talk to me. I want everyone to feel welcome here,” Hordov said.
Patrons of the store can have a device made with almost any specifications they want. Custom pieces will be the featured items and will be coupled with Hordov collecting handmade pipes from local artists and well-known national ones like Melitz glass. To supplement the higher quality and custom pieces, Hordov will also have bigger brand name pieces in stock such as Mothership, Toro, and Cello glass.
One thing that sticks out is Hordov’s passion. He was upset with the quality of stores in town during his time as a student and furious at the overpricing he noticed while shopping in local stores, so he decided to do something about it. He immersed himself in the art of glassblowing. Before he knew it, he was receiving praise from Action Bronson. Bronson even invited Hordov to his studio after seeing his work.
Hordov’s mission to have a customizable glassblowing shop is certainly new in State College, but it’s not the only thing he envisions for his store. Another plan is to offer glassblowing lessons for interested patrons.
Go to most head shops in the country and its easy to see the image the smoking industry has sold for years now. The Bob Marley posters, Jamaican flags, and big brand names have commercialized the Cheech and Chong wannabes. But the culture, like the living people who make it, has been changing. Smaller, lightweight and more detailed contraptions have started to replace heavier, plug and chug pieces that thrived in the early 2000s.
Hordov said he hopes teaching lessons on glassblowing and piece making will inspire others to get involved in the art as he did and help it progress. He mentioned he wants people to come to the store to relax and interact with each other while watching the business of glass making happen right in front of their eyes.
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After losing my father to cancer, I thought there was nothing THON could offer me that I didn’t already know. After four years, I found comfort in the familiar.
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