Posts in category Cigar Industry
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.
On December 12th of this year, Camacho announced that it had entered into a three year sponsorship with the Orange Bowl.
Shortly after that announcement, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and several health groups protested Camacho’s sponsorship.
Stating that tobacco had no place in sports, and that it would send the wrong message to the youth that attended the game, the Senators and the health groups conveniently ignored the sponsorships of Budweiser, Bacardi, Stella Artois, Corona and the Hard Rock Casino. Any one of those companies has a constant barrage of advertisments and campaigns. While these campaigns are not targeted at young children, they certainly get exposed to them. READ MORE »
Premium cigars today face the greatest threat ever encountered in the form of FDA regulation. The FDA has publicly declared its intent to regulate premium cigars as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
The potential outcomes are ruinous for cigar smokers, retail tobacconists and mail order cigar companies alike. READ MORE »
Shipments of the new STK Zulu Zulu Habano and Ecuadorian Connecticut lanceros have been delivered out to all of our STK participating retailers. Measuring 7 ½ x 40 the Zulu Zulu lanceros will come in both an Ecuadorian Connecticut and Nicaraguan Habano wrapper featuring a Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan filler.
The medium-body Ecuadorian Connecticut cigars will be packaged in the blue box while the full-body Nicaraguan Habano will be in the red. Both boxes were hand painted and signed by the Miami artist, and close friend of George A. Rico, known as “Kid”. Limited in production, only 500 boxes of each blend were released. READ MORE »
Toraño Family Cigar Company continues to strengthen its team as Jack Toraño joins the family business
Toraño Family Cigar Co. has taken another step to strengthen its team as President Charlie Toraño is proud to announce the hiring of fellow family member Jack Toraño as the Marketing & Customer Relations Manager. Jack Toraño brings along an excellent reputation for customer service, branding, and public relations. The addition of Jack Toraño is the latest in many big moves made by the Toraño Family after taking back their distribution. READ MORE »