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100 Years of Retailing

Shandana A. Durrani
From the Print Edition:
Linda Evangelista, Autumn 95

(continued from page 8)

Rich's Cigar Store Inc. Portland, Oregon
Established 1894

"If you can't find it somewhere else, Rich's will have it." -Tom Moran, 44, owner

The West Coast has its share of historic smoke shops as well. In 1894, 35 years after Oregon entered the Union, two relatives, Si S. Rich and B.B. Rich, decided to become tobacco merchants. Rich's Cigar Store Inc., sold cigars, pipes, cigarettes and snuff to recent settlers in the West. And the business thrived.

B.B. Rich left shortly after the turn of the century, and Si Rich ran the store until his son Jesse entered the business in 1914, according to Tom Moran, present owner of Rich's Cigar Store Inc. The store even branched out to include six additional stores. But the Riches eventually sold these other stores, and Jesse sold the original store to Moran in 1977.

"Jesse had a minor partner who didn't want to work anymore. And when he wanted out it kind of forced Jesse to make a decision," Moran says. "They had called me to manage the store. I just happened to be here when they wanted out, and I made an offer."

Moran never set out to own a cigar store, but once he started working at Rich's he loved it. It is fast-paced and very interesting, he says. And now he smokes almost anything he can get his hands on. With 168 brands available, he has a lot to choose from.

"We stock most everything, so it is hard to pick one brand over another," Moran says. "All the cigars do well. The sales have increased 25 percent a year in the past few years. We always emphasized cigars."

Many people are buying what Rich's is selling. Some notable customers include Clint Eastwood, Walter Cronkite, Ahmad Rashad and Robert Downey Jr. But regardless of the marquee value of the client's name, all customers are accorded the same respect, according to Moran. And the customer always comes first.

"We offer great service, great selection and variety," he says. "We will change somewhat with whatever changes [occur] in the marketplace, but we will continue doing what we do."

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