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Smokin' Joe's opens Outlet store

Smokin' Joe's Indian Trading Post opened a newsstand-type store at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls on Friday.

"It's kind of like a miniature trading post," said Nicole Schultz, a marketing representative for Smokin' Joe's.

The store will sell cigarettes by the pack, which will be subject to New York State sales tax, unlike cigarettes the company sells on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation. In addition to Smokin' Joe's brand cigarettes, which start at $6.91 per pack, the store will sell some premium brands of cigarettes.

Tax-free transactions must take place on qualifying reservation land, according to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Native American merchants and state tax officials have battled for years over whether Native Americans are allowed to sell tax-free items to non-Indians on reservation lands. Either way, the Fashion Outlets store is located outside the Tuscarora reservation borders on what is considered New York State land, so it is unable to benefit from any tax exemptions.

The store will be located between the food court and center court, near Kay Jewelers. It will sell newspapers, tobacco, Native American gifts and sundry items. It will also have a WinBin, a popular prize machine invented and patented by Joseph "Smokin' Joe" Anderson.

"It will be nice, because it will offer items that weren't available to customers before," said Julie Clark, marketing director for the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

Smokin' Joe's has a souvenir store in downtown Niagara Falls.

"But this is our first real commercial venture off the reservation," Schultz said.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com

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