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100 Years of Retailing

Shandana A. Durrani
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95

(continued from page 9)

Rubovits Cigars, Chicago
Established 1894

"I hope the store is still here in 200 years." -David Mohr, 45, owner

Chicago boasts another centenary tobacco shop. In 1894, Louie and Izzie Rubovits established Rubovits Cigar at the board of trade building in Chicago. The Rubovits family owned the store for more than three decades. But in the 1930s, the family sold the store to partner Joe Loeser. His son, Stanley, worked at the shop during the Second World War and eventually took it over in the 1950s. David Mohr, the current owner, acquired the store from the younger Loeser in 1985, at a time when the industry and the store itself were in trouble.

"When I bought it, the store was in jeopardy because he [Stanley] had put in a women's jewelry section, and that was driving cigar smokers away," Mohr says. "When I bought it, that all went, and I went strictly with tobacco only. And that has been my policy; there is nothing in here that isn't tobacco-related."

Mohr is currently enjoying the fruits of his success. His business is up 50 percent from last year alone, he says. And he can't keep the more than 70 cigar brands or cigar-related accessories on the shelves.

Mohr hopes that the current trend toward cigar smoking doesn't diminish anytime soon. But he is skeptical of the people who are currently entering the hot industry solely for a quick buck.

"When I see the new people coming into this business, I wonder what will become of it in 100 years," he says. "I see the love that I have for this business in many of the manufacturers in the Caribbean and Honduras, as well as in many legitimate tobacconists. But I also see the greed in many of the businesses that are in it for a quick million and to take advantage of a current fad."

Current trend or not, the future burns brightly for cigar stores. Given the tendency of the general public to lose interest in a trend when it goes out of fashion, the current popularity in cigars may not continue at its present rate. But there are many avid cigar smokers who love the leaf for the pleasure and relaxation it brings, not for the notoriety. And for these cigar lovers, there will be tobacco shops to serve their needs for the next 100 years.

The Century Club

Demuth's Tobacco Shop (Founded 1770)
114 East King St.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17602
(717) 397-6613

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