A Conversation with Nestor Miranda
The founder of Miami Cigar & Co. talks about the rise, fall and rebirth of his Don Lino brand.
From the Print Edition:
David Caruso, Jan/Feb 2007
(continued from page 6)
A: I couldn't. I didn't bother anybody. I used my logic—if they don't have cigars for their brand, how can they make my brand? I was obligated to wait, and lose money. The expenses were still there, but the profit was not. So I had to really control my habits. We controlled our habits. I had great, great support from Guillermo León. Without him, I wouldn't have a company.
Q: He finally agreed to make Don Lino. When was that?
A: Early 1999.
Q: So it was off the market for two years—nothing in '97, nothing in '98.
A: Even if you have a good reputation, if you're out of the market for two years, you have to start over again. It was made in Honduras; now it's made in the Dominican Republic. Our business is increasing every year. We're happy with Don Lino. I haven't reached the point of what it used to be, but I'll get there.
Q: When did you sue?
A: In July 1999. One of the reasons I waited, I didn't want to put what little money I had into litigation. I couldn't afford it. I was involved in a suit with another company that sued UST. I had to go to Colorado for a deposition against UST. And one of the lawyers showed me a letter that was about the elimination of Miami Cigar [as a distributor]—and this was from August of 1995.
Q: So when you saw that letter, how did you feel?
A: I felt so ashamed. The lawyer said, "We want to represent you."
Q: That lawsuit had nothing to do with cigars?
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