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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 5)

Levin: We'll be up about 60 percent over 1995. Since 1992, if you include the Ashton brand, it has increased eight times.

CA: What's been the most exciting thing?

Levin: First of all, the new store is beyond my wildest expectations and dreams.

CA: How much of your business there is new customers?

Levin: There's a constant flow of new and younger customers. I mean, a totally new market in the past two years.

CA: How do they find you?

Levin: We have been in Philadelphia for a long time, so we are a known quantity. We've always had a good location--even the former store was on a good street--and today's new store is in a great location. People just come in.

CA: Of the revenues in the new store, how much of that is cigars versus accessories? You have one of the best selections of cigar accessories in America. How significant is the accessory part of the business?

Levin: It's becoming more and more significant. In fact, anything to do with cigars is selling: humidors, cutters, anything. Our humidor sales have more than quadrupled. Elie Blue has been our top seller at the upper end.

CA: Excluding the Ashton brand, you must be experiencing the same problem as other retailers all over the world: getting enough of the brands and sizes you need for your customers. How are you dealing with this problem?

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