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An Interview with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo

Owner, El Credito Cigar Co., makers of La Gloria Cubana, La Hoja Selecta, El Rico Habano and Dos Gonzales cigars.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
James Woods, May/Jun 97

(continued from page 22)

Carrillo: Actually, I was losing money. I remember my accountant one year, I think it was in 1984 or 1985, told me, 'I think this is going to be your last year in the cigar business because you have lost $20,000.' I thought about it for a while and decided I couldn't let all this effort go to waste, so I fired the bookkeeper. I didn't want anybody tellingme that my business was in ruins. But, as it turns out, we were losing the money...

CA: But 800,000 cigars was a lot of cigars in those days.

Carrillo: But that was in 1980. By 1985, we had fallen to about 500,000 cigars.

CA: Was that the low point in terms of production?

Carrillo: Right.

CA: Because today, in Miami, you're only doing a million two. Would you be doing 10 million today if you'd had the capital?

Carrillo: Yes. But at that time, they were different times. There wasn't the demand that you have now.

CA: And you were selling them for nothing. Your prices were ridiculous.

Carrillo: There was absolutely no markup. I think at that time, the assumption was if you made $40, $50 on a thousand cigars, you were doing great.

CA: My understanding is that you made cigars in the 1980s basically for the Cuban and Spanish customer base in Miami.


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