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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 19)

Levin: After '97. We will be working on a few other brands, which we will promote in both the national and international markets.

CA: Will you own those other brands, and will the Fuentes produce them for you?

Levin: Hopefully. If they can expand their production in the way they always do, which is to focus on quality first. Also, we are going to have a brand from Honduras, called Castano, which we are working on now. We hope to get our first shipments in February.

CA: And who will produce that?

Levin: Villazon [makers of Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch].

CA: Will the acquisition of Villazon by General Cigar, if it happens, change your deal for the new cigar?

Levin: I hope not. Frank Llaneza is one of the most knowledgeable tobacco people around. I'm an old customer, we know each other very well, and I think that they'll honor the commitment that Frank makes.

CA: What about a ceiling for Ashton sales; do you see it leveling off at 4 1/2 million?

Levin: No, no, no, I think if I had 10 million cigars now, I could sell 10 million cigars. I'm looking for major increases every year in Ashton.

CA: Do people knock on your door to buy your brand?

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