DECEMBER 14th & 15th
CORONA CIGAR COMPANY, ORLANDO, FL
If you have not heard, The Crowned Heads are involved in a legal dispute over the name Headley Grange. Here is the article that brought it to my attention: Nashville cigar company in legal dispute over Led Zeppelin inspired product.
After reading the article, I decided to do some research on the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. After reading about them I decided to voice my opinion regarding their stance in this dispute.
Here is my email to them in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Luttrell and Mr. Watson,
I am writing this letter in response to your dispute with The Crowned Heads in regard to their new premium cigar named Headley Grange.
I have been a premium cigar smoker since 1985 and until two days ago, I had never heard of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, even though I am sure I have lived in states that have registered members of your organization.
To be fair, I had never heard of the name Headley Grange until The Crowned Heads announced it as the name of their new product in August. I understand the name Headley Grange was chosen by The Crowned Heads as a reference to a recording studio in England. Even after learning of the very famous bands that had recorded at Headley Grange, the name was still not familiar to me even though I have been listening to many of those bands for decades.
I took the liberty of searching for your organization on the internet. I did this because after reading your organizations name, I was still unsure of your function.
After learning that you are an agricultural organization, I fail to see how the name of a premium cigar could be confused with an agricultural entity. Even if some of your members are cigar smokers and came across the Headley Grange brand by The Crowned Heads, I doubt those people would think their agricultural representative had gotten into the cigar business.
The way I see it, the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry and The Crowned Heads have nothing in common whatsoever.
What I do see is a large agricultural organization taking advantage of trademark laws to go after a small premium cigar maker. Is this how your membership wants you to represent them? How many of your members are small businesses trying to survive in this current economy?
Part of your Vision Statement reads: “The Grange will be a relevant, caring and involved part of the community in which its members are located. “ How many members do you have in the Nashville, TN area? How many of these members are small businesses? If one of these members were in a similar situation, wouldn’t you be rushing to their aid?
Somehow, it doesn’t seem very “caring” to go after a company that has used a centuries old word as part of their brand name, just because you have the same common word in your name brand.
Why don’t you take the time, money and resources that you are using on this legal issue and use it to educate, engage and enrich the lives of your members in the Nashville, TN area. That truly is a caring and involved “vision” for any organization.
Their response, if any, will be posted here for all to read.
If you have an opinion on this subject, I urge you to write to “The Grange” and let them know how you feel.
Recently, both online and offline, I’ve been involved in discussions about cigar lounges. The online discussion was basically “what would you like to see in a cigar lounge”, while the in person discussion compared local shops against each other.
Looking back on these discussions, I started to think about my personal set of specifications for an ideal cigar shop. What would a shop need to have to keep me coming back time and again?
I decided on two broad categories, each with a subset of features:
Good ventilation – Granted, if people are smoking inside a cigar shop, there is going to be a certain amount of smoke. But, I dislike walking into a store and all you see is a hazy cloud of soon to be stale smoke. If I sit in a lounge and my eyes start to burn within a few minutes, then it’s time for me to go.
Fortunately, most shops do a good job with ventilation / filtration and smoke only begins to be an issue at the larger, more popular events that attract a lot of people.
Good selection – I like to see a good mix of boutique cigars along with larger more established brands. That way, there should always be something new for me to try at any given time.
Personable / knowledgeable staff – A cigar shop is a relationship business. It’s always nice to be greeted with a smile and a hello when you walk into the store. It’s also good to have knowledgeable, experienced answers for people’s questions. Also, I appreciate staff that doesn’t hover when you are in a walk-in humidor.
Comfortable surroundings – Well made, comfortable furniture is always appreciated. A mix of lounge chairs and sofas work well along with plenty of table space and ash trays. Recliners might be cool but perhaps too many people would fall asleep in them. I like seeing the furniture arranged so that it encourages conversation among the patrons.
Coffee, water, soft drinks – Most times I’m in a shop, I also get a bottle of water. Although, coffee and soda are good to have on hand as options.
TV’s – news, sports, specials, movies … TV’s are good to have when the shop is quiet.
Outdoor seating – Perhaps, I consider outdoor seating as part of the basics because I live in Florida. Other than the really hot days in the middle of summer, sitting outdoors is a pleasant and enjoyable experience. Also, outdoor seating is a great option for those huge events that fill a shop with too much smoke.
Nice to haves
Premium channels, Sports packages – Lots of shops in the area have the NFL ticket, etc. I’m sure it’s a good draw for some people, I’m just not sure it’s 100 percent necessary.
Beer, wine, spirits where allowed – A full liquor bar inside a cigar shop is rare and a nice bonus. Beer and wine bars are more prevalent and offer good pairings to go with cigars.
WiFi – I put this as a nice to have only because so many people already have internet access of some form that WiFi is almost not necessary.
Lockers – for someone who does not humidors at home or just does not want to deal with storage of cigars, a locker at your local shop is a nice alternative.
Loyalty program – If people patronize a shop consistently, than some sort of discount or rewards program is a great way to retain customers.
Events – I enjoy meeting the people behind a cigar brand and store events are one of the best ways to do that. Some of the local shops put out some big spreads of food and beverages while others are smaller affairs. Either way, they are great ways to meet people and try new cigars.
So there you have it! What are your thoughts on cigar shops? I’d love to hear about them.
For further information log in to www.procigar.org
Here’s the process I use for brewing coffee in my french press. Please feel free to comment or ask questions.
THE CELEBRATION ALSO MARKS THE GRAND OPENING OF A NEW PUIG STORE IN DOWNTOWN MIAMI
(Miami, Florida) June 27, 2012—This month marks the 40 year anniversary of the Ramon Puig brand here in South Florida. Established by the now late Mr. Puig, the legacy continues with his son Louis Puig. The reputable and world famous clothing brand will not only celebrate four decades of style, but also a new location this Thursday June 28th 2012, from 6:00-9:00PM. The festivities will highlight the revamped brand via a by-invitation Grand Opening of the new Downtown Miami store location and include a presentation by Mayor Tomas Regalado.
Ramon Puig opened his first guayabera store in Cuba in 1943, in the ancestral home of the garment, Sancti Espiritus, the city of his birth. Since he was a child, Puig showed an interest in tailoring and once of age, he learned and developed his skills under a local tailor, and opened up his first shop at the age of twenty-three. Soon after, he married a local woman, Juana María, and taught her the skills he had developed so she could assist him in his burgeoning business.
His attention to detail, cut, and style soon led customers all over Cuba, the Caribbean and South America to coin him “el mago de guayabera” (The Guayabera Magician). The guayabera shirts he designed made of crisp white linen, slimmed customers’ waistlines and added to their appearance a look of elegance. As his reputation grew, Puig drove to the major cities in Cuba to take client’s measurements, and then made the return trip to personally deliver his custom fitted guayaberas.
In 1968, Puig departed his country and arrived in Miami, with his wife Juana María and his then eight-year old son, Louis. In 1971 Puig was able to open his first shop in Little Havana, next to Versailles restaurant and thereafter a larger one, further west on Southwest eight street. Rapidly making connections in Miami’s Cuban and Latin community, he built his business into an International success with client celebrities, actors, athletes and musicians such as Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Andy Garcia, Alex Rodriguez, Alonzo Mourning, Ice Cube as well as every US President since Ronald Reagan who began sporting Puig’s authentic guayaberas. Reagan toured Miami wearing Puig’s garments and rechristened “El Mago de las Guayaberas” as “El Rey de las Guayaberas” (The King of the Guayaberas).
Due to the precision folds, cuts, and attention to detail, the Ramon Puig Guayabera has become synonymous with cool. The comfortable and versatile garment, appropriate for business meetings, social gatherings, family events, and daily casual- wear gained current day popularity. Maintaining traditional value of their ancestral homelands, the younger Miami sector, being the pulse of fashion, has embraced Puig’s authentic garments as the style for social activities, including nights out on the town at Miami’s trendiest spots, and even as a fashion for wedding ceremonies, with “guayabera weddings” becoming the recent trend in the nuptial scene.
This uptake of the guayabera into the fashion world has led to renowned publications like GQ Magazine to name Ramon Puig “the master of the guayabera” and the “greatest guayabera maker”. Beginning on June 28th, an exhibit at History Miami will pay homage via ”The Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story”. This exhibit will explore the changing uses and significance of the guayabera and the guayabera’s evolution from a guajiro shirt in the late 1800s, into a fashionable piece of contemporary menswear. On display will be historical examples and photographs of the shirt that highlight its changing uses and significance over time, its construction and the tailors, fashion designers and tradition bearers who have played an important role in its stylistic development. Puig’s scissors which he smuggled out of Cuba and his original 1940’s guayabera will also be on display.
Today, Louis Puig is carrying the legacy of his father. “We must embrace the past and understand the direction of the future in order to be successful. We have added updated styles, fabrics and colors to further expand our existent inventory and please our wide customer base. This new store exemplifies the new direction we are taking our brand while remaining true to the dedication and pride my father had for his craft. For almost 70 years we have made the best and most authentic guayaberas in the world, I am proud to continue my father’s legacy.”
The Ramon Puig Guayabera Store Grand Opening /40 Year Anniversary will take place Thursday, June 28th, 2012 6:00-9:00PM at 24 W. Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33130. DRESS CODE: Business or Cocktail attire. The event will be co-presented by: Bacardi, Oliva Cigar Co. Cigar Snob Magazine. Charity and promotional partners featured include: Neat Stuff for Kids, Sharing Smiles and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.