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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 11)

Levin: In the beginning, it was made by Henke Kelner at Tabadom. I got samples from everybody I knew. I liked the cigar we got from Tabadom.

CA: At the time, what other brands was he making?

Levin: That was pre-Davidoff. He wasn't actually making a lot of brands. He was making some for Europe. He had a pretty small production and Ashton, after a couple of years, became the factory's biggest brand.

CA: When did you leave Tabadom?

Levin: About 1988.

CA: How big a brand was Ashton in 1988?

Levin: The year we left Tabadom, Ashton was a 300,000-unit brand. That was fairly considerable because I was not advertising. I knew a lot of retailers in the business who were my friends and they took the brand on. We just built it up very slowly and we had wide consumer acceptance. It was a quality product. We always stayed on top of the quality.

CA: Of the 300,000, how much did you sell yourself versus other stores?

Levin: Mostly other stores.

CA: Was it a national brand?

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