Category Archives: Tampa Bay Cigar Shops
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.
With so much going on here at the “Den” and in the the whole cigar industry, I felt compelled to bring you “up to speed” with the latest and greatest! Its been awhile since I sent out an update so lets get right to it.
We’ve taken the summer off from events since its been so blasted hot but as we approach the end those lazy days of summer’s, I’ve focused on the upcoming events.
I’m just getting back from the International Premium Cigars & Pipes Retailers Association (IPCPR) in Orlando FL, the worlds largest convention and trade show for tobacco products. Imagine two football fields in the convention center, packed with trade booths from every cigar& pipe manufacturer from around the world displaying their newest lines!
For those of you who know me, that was a “die & go to heaven moment”. The lines that intrigued me the most will begin coming in this week which will complement the newest and hottest lines of cigars already carried by the “Den”. I encourage you to come on in and check out some of the new entries such as Ezra Zion, Alec Bradley Black Market & Prensado, Drew Estates Acids and Under Crow, Ortega Brands, Quesada, PIO Resurrection, Cuenca y Blanco, Fuente, Espinosa, Oja, Capadura, San Lotano newest line, the Pinolero, just to name a few. I listened to your request, I think you will be pleased!
Just a few other updates:
Please mark your calendars for September 9th which is the first Sunday regular season football kick off. The “Den” will host an event with ”Mr. Cool” himself, Jeff Groover from San Lotano with their newest line the “Pinolero” while we watch NFL football all day long eating, drinking and just having the best of the best kick off to the NFL season. We’ll have prizes, raffles, box and single specials, food, food and more food… the works!
The “Den’ has the Sunday ticket with several large screen TV’s and will feature a cigar special every weekend. It really will be the “place to be” every Saturday for college games and all day Sunday and Monday night for your favorite NFL team.
Also please let me know if any of you are interested in forming a Fantasy Football league here at the “DEN” as some have expressed interest and I’m trying to determine a date for a “draft party”.
We Thank You as always for the support and we’re excited as the new blends arrive! Come on in and party with us day or night.
The “DEN” where we know your name….and your favorite cigar!
Introducing ”Stogie One” the areas only Cigar Limo brought to you by the “Den” and Friends.