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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 20)

CA: But the consumer didn't know if he was getting an H. Upmann second?

DiMeola: No.

CA: When did this begin, the bundle business?

DiMeola: We were doing it when I joined the company. Probably at the very beginning of production.

CA: Doing it then and doing it on the scale that it's done today is quite different.

DiMeola: Things have evolved to where [the business] is today. In our case, as I told you earlier, we had a factory there that was half-empty and we wanted to build the production--build the business.

CA: You're talking about the Dominican Republic?

DiMeola: Yes. In our case we wanted to build the production, and as I said, we were throwing the mud against the wall to see what would stick. And one way to build production was to put the company into the bundle business; it served another purpose as well, which was training.

CA: Of your 41 million handmade cigars today, how many are bundles?

DiMeola: Fifteen million that go to smoke shops.

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