Thanks for the smiles, Hot Flash.
Thanks for the smiles, Hot Flash.

Why is this Downtown store named "Hot Flash?"

Every time I walk or drive by Hot Flash Pantry, 701 W. Wisconsin Ave., I chortle to myself, wondering why someone would name a store after something that suggests an unpleasant time in every woman’s life.

Once, I took a photo of the Hot Flash sign and posted it on social media. Other people have done this, too, for similar reasons, I think – because the name struck us as humorous.

On Friday, I finally stopped in Hot Flash. It was what I expected, and more, with candy-and-cigarette convenience items, a decent-size grocery section and a deli. There was also a selection of sweatshirts, cell phones and glass pipes for tobacco use. (So tempted to type a winking smiley face here, but I won’t.)

During my visit, owner Tariq Abdull was working behind the counter, so I got to ask him about the Hot Flash name.

"Two years ago, I bought this store and it already had that name," says Abdull.

However, he had a couple of theories as to where the name came from, including that there’s a steam tunnel beneath the store, which makes it very hot. It was, indeed, toasty inside the store during our visit.

"We don’t have to turn on the heat all winter, but we have to run 24-hour air conditioning in the summer," he says.

Honestly, I had the idea to investigate the origin of the name "Hot Flash" a while ago, but I was hesitant. I thought, maybe, it was named by someone who emigrated from another country and didn’t understand the connotation that the name has in English. I didn't want to poke fun of that.

But it turns out the name was most likely picked for a quite logical reason. 

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