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Fathers and Sons, Part 2

The second part of our look at the important generational partnerships that define a large part of the cigar industry
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
William Shatner, Sept/Oct 2006

(continued from page 7)

Stanford and his sons chose the former strategy, and the three were then in control. Stanford made it a point to manage differently than his dad had.

"I wanted to give responsibility to my sons," says Stanford. "I wanted them to do things themselves."

The next generation is already making an impact on the family business. "I've been in the business since I was nine," says Drew Newman, Eric's 25-year-old son. Displaying a knack for computers, Drew helped create the popular Fuente and Newman Web site, cigarfamily.com, when he was 14. "I told my father we should have a Web site," he says. "Dad said, 'What's a Web site?'" Drew is now in law school at American University, and eventually intends to join the company. He even designed the "M"-shaped Diamond Crown Maximus box, which has a radical design that doesn't quite sit right with Stanford.

"I didn't think much of the idea," he says simply, as his sons laugh.

Stanford is still active in the business. During a tour of the company's small cigar-making operations upstairs, he gives a freshly made cigar a squeeze, his personal way of draw-testing. "Dad goes by the feel," says Eric, a touch of wonder in his voice. "Bobby and I are the technicians of the business, managers of the business—Dad is still the visionary."

Nestor Plasencia + Nestor Plasencia Jr.

Nestor Plasencia Sr. (left) and Nestor Jr.
Like a pair of good basketball players, the Plasencias are constantly in motion. "We're about to spread out," says Nestor Jr., 31, speaking during his regular Monday morning sit-down with his father in Nicaragua. The two run the Plasencia tobacco and cigar-making empire, which stretches across Nicaragua and Honduras. They meet each Monday for an hour or two to strategize for the week, then scatter across the region. One might go to the fields in Jalapa, where the wrapper leaf is smooth and rich, while the other might head to Danlí, Honduras, home to one of the company's five cigar factories, or to Ocotál, Nicaragua, where the Plasencias process one of the world's largest collections of tobacco. The two are rarely in the same spot.

"We don't see each other during the weekdays," says Nestor Jr., "but on the weekends, Friday, we get together and discuss what we did for the week."

It's not an easy schedule. The two are constantly on the road, beating up their vehicles over roads that often have more bumps than the local economy. "I change my car every four years," says Nestor Jr. His father changes every three.

The elder Plasencia, 56, is proud of his son. "I feel very good," he says. "I have the privilege to have continuity in the business, the same way my father felt when he was working."


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Comments   1 comment(s)

Robert Martin — Flushing, New York, Queens,  —  September 30, 2011 6:46pm ET

my brother anthony got me smoking Arturo's when we were in Atlantic City.... love them...


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