A Cigar Network
Posted: Feb 9, 2009 2:54pm ET
You don’t normally see a retail store’s entire network of loyal consumers inside the shop all at once. Think about your local grocery store if everybody showed up at the same time; there wouldn’t be any parking spaces, and the lines at check-out would be snaking back down the aisles. Well, I got a taste of what that scene would be like at The Cigar Inn’s grand opening celebration on Saturday night in Manhattan. Apparently, every customer of the Fakih brothers—Bass, Billy and Gus—were there for the festivities, along with lots of their customer’s closest friends. Let’s just say that the crowd estimate would be in the hundreds.
It was a great night. By eight o’clock, the official start time for the party, the store was packed, and you couldn’t take a full step in any direction without running into somebody. But it was a totally friendly and relaxed atmosphere. And, it was a wonderful showcase of the new Cigar Aficionado Lounge, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. There were great spirits and fine wines available, catered food, and sushi, and, of course, cigars.
Among the cigar world celebs in attendance were Robert Levin of Ashton, Rocky Patel, Avo Uvezian, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, Peter Baenninger, and I know there were others in the room but I never ran into them. Other New York cigar stars were there, including some with lounges; one of them who oversees a private club lounge turned to me in the middle of the evening and said, “I predict that this turnout shows that we are at a turning point in this economy and with cigars.” We all smiled, and hoped it was a message from his lips straight to God Almighty.
By 9 o’clock, the crowd had spilled out onto the sidewalk of 3rd Ave., thanks to the first night in New York in more than 40 days when the temperature wasn’t below freezing. In fact, it felt down right spring like, and kept the crowd inside to manageable concentrations. You could tell by the faces of people walking by on the sidewalk that they wondered what was going on; they hadn’t smelled that much tobacco smoke in a public space in years in Manhattan. One of the young guys who works for me said he got off the subway about three blocks away, and caught a strong whiff of cigar smoke. All of Midtown must have known there was a cigar party going on.
I’m told that the party went on into the wee hours. That’s not unusual for The Cigar Inn, according the Fakih brothers. They’re often open well past midnight, providing a welcome retreat for folks who want to come in and smoke a cigar. (To take a look inside the store and lounge, see this video.) Now that everyone knows just what a wonderful place it is, it may be harder to get a seat in prime time. But give it a shot. You’ll no doubt discover that you are part of a much bigger cigar network than you ever imagined.
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