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An Interview With Robert Levin

Owner, Holt's Cigar Store, Inc., and the Ashton Brand
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96

(continued from page 10)

Levin: In England.

CA: And Bill Taylor was...

Levin: A pipemaker in England.

CA: At this time, you had a pretty sizable retail pipe business, didn't you?

Levin: Yes. I was always a cigar man, but even though I was never that much interested in pipes, the business was okay. A friend of mine was the importer and distributor of Ashton Pipes, and he came to me and asked me to name my brand Ashton. He said that would build brand recognition for the pipe, for the cigar, and they would come out with some other products. He thought that would be the best way to do it. I didn't want to do it. He talked me into it. So we came out with Ashton cigars.

CA: How did that happen?

Levin: We designed the Ashton logo. I went to a lot of people in the industry who were cigar makers and I told them what I wanted. We got samples, and we started. Over the years the business evolved and now I own the Ashton brand. I bought the name from Bill Taylor in 1992.

CA: So what year was this that you first started to sell Ashton?

Levin: I started working on Ashton in 1983. We came out with it in 1985. We introduced it at the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America convention in Washington that year.

CA: Who made the cigar in the beginning?

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