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An Interview with Carlos Fuente Sr.

A discussion with the head of Arturo Fuente Inc., one of the world's largest producers of premium hand-rolled cigars.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

(continued from page 13)

Then, around 1986, I went to see the Newmans. My son and I were living in the Dominican Republic at that time, and our sales force back here kept telling us that we needed to do more. It just happened that we were still manufacturing cigars in Tampa, too, some other machine-made brands. So I asked the Newmans if they would make our Tampa-based brands, and they said yes, but they asked us to make some handmade cigars in the Dominican Republic for them. That's how it got started. From 1986 to 1990, we saw that there were also possibilities to use their sales force.

C.A.: So from 1986 to 1990 you were producing Cuesta Rey?

Fuente: Not Cuesta Rey at first, but we made other brands for them, like La Unica. We started with that brand and when we were very successful with it, they started bringing in Cuesta Rey. Then, when we saw the sales force that they had, and that they are wonderful people to work with, and that they are hardworking people, and that they are a family company, like we are, I saw the possibility of working more closely together.

I also thought it was time for the Newmans to come out with handmade cigars. It all has just turned out to be the best thing that we've done, to go with them and the sales force and to use their sales ability. They put us in a lot of places we weren't in before. The more spread out you are with a brand, the more possibility that good things will happen. It's turned out to be a very good thing for the Newmans and for us.

C.A.: You're saying that it's a very successful relationship and both sides are pleased.

Fuente: We are together in the sales aspects. We're still with Linda and Fred. They are watching the Fuente brand. And the relationship has been marvelous.

C.A.: From my personal experience, it's two great families. You couldn't have picked better and they couldn't have picked better.

Fuente: Thank you.

C.A.: It's one of those marriages that work.

Fuente: I feel the same thing.

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