Northeast Philly Head Shop, Artifax, To Close After 48 Years in Business


Customers and employees inside Northeast Philly headshop, Artifax, during one of its final days in businesses.
Image via Dvn NEWS YouTube.
Artifax, one of the first two head shops to open in Phialdelphia during the 1970s, will be shutting down this week.

In 1976, Brent Brookstein was a 19-year-old working at a music store trying to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.

That is, until one day, a colleague handed him a catalog of pipes and smoking paraphernalia, which eventually led to the start of his own business — Artifax — later that same year.

After 48 years in business, the head shop that Brookstein opened in the basement of his parents’ Northeast Philadelphia row house will be closing its doors, writes Stephanie Farr for The Philadelphia Inquirer

The industry has changed quite a bit since Brookstein first went into business.

“Honestly, I never thought it would be as successful as it was,” Brookstein said.

At the time he opened, Artifax was one of only two head shops in Philadelphia. 

He admits, however, that the legalization of marijuana hasn’t been good for business, as dispensaries have paraphernalia and most gas stations now sell pipes.

That’s a big reason why Brookstein has decided to retire, close Artifax, and sell the building.

Nonetheless, Brookstein has left his mark on generations of customers over the decades. 

“It kind of makes me feel good knowing that I created something that meant something to somebody else,” he said.

Read more about the 48-year history of Artifax and the challenges Brent Brookstein has faced along the way at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Artifax owner Brent Brookstein speaks on his business.

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