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The Synergy of Cigars and Guayaberas

Alejandro Benes
Posted: January 24, 2007

Global warming has been very, very good for the guayabera, the traditional Cuban shirt popularized by guava pickers. That, at least, is what Miguel Gimenez, vice president of business development for Yavoy, Inc., contends. Yavoy owns Guayaberas Etc., a group of three shops and accompanying web sites, in south Florida. And now, it's becoming clear that the guayabera is also quite good for the cigar.

"The integration of the cigar with our product," explained Gimenez, "goes hand in hand."

Each of the Guayaberas Etc. shops now has a large humidor inside offering lines distributed by Miami Cigars. Yavoy has a deal to sell the cigars in the shops, a relationship that began in November.

"We've already had to restock the cigars," Gimenez said in December.

The signs among the various cotton, cotton-poly blend, and linen guayaberas in the storefront windows at the Coral Gables store push the Aurora Preferido and the Tatiana cigars. The humidors have Aurora, León Jimenes, Don Lino and Tatiana cigars. The prices of individual cigars range from $3 to $16.

"We kept getting questions from our customers about where they could buy cigars," Gimenez recounted of his many Latin customers. "A lot of the people buying the guayaberas were giving them as a gift to their fathers and wanted to put a cigar in the pocket as part of the gift. It was kind of all about nostalgia."

The guayaberas are, at any given time, formal, business or casual dress. They are priced from around $40 to $125 each at Guayaberas Etc., more for the dressier long-sleeved ones. It's a shirt that traditionally has four pockets, though now some are made with only two. In either case, that's enough pockets to transport several cigars, a cutter and a lighter quite comfortably. Gimenez's company makes the shirts for Perdomo Cigars and for Al Capone, among other brands in the cigar industry. Guayaberas Etc. also makes the official guayabera for the city of Miami.

"We've seen growth of about 15 percent year-over-year," Gimenez explained. "It's 80 degrees in Miami and nobody wants to wear a suit."

Yavoy has been in business since 1978. Guayaberas Etc. has been operating since 1992. You can order the shirts at either www.guayaberashirt.com or www.guayaberasetc.net.

Guayaberas Etc.
270 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305-441-9891

Alejandro Benes owns more than a dozen guayaberas and wears them year-round in Southern California, where he is based.
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