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Let the Good Times Roll

Cigar Sales are Going Through the Roof as Premium Cigars Become Increasingly Difficult to Find
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Bill Cosby, Autumn 94

(continued from page 2)

Lionel Melendi, the owner of De La Concha cigar store in Manhattan, says the younger smokers are ready to try anything. "They come in here and they want suggestions. It's easy to introduce a new brand to them," says Melendi. The crush of younger smokers has Melendi's business up in the double digits this year after setting records in 1993. "It's been like Christmastime in April and May," says Melendi, noting that in his 31 years in the business, he's never seen anything like it.

Levin of Holt's Cigars says that he has seen an upsurge in cigars on college campuses in the Philadelphia area and has watched a cigar club get its start at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he says there are more and more women trying and enjoying cigars. "With this number of new smokers, the only thing holding us back is not enough places to smoke." But he's even seeing a change in restaurateurs' attitudes. "I'm getting more and more calls from restaurants and a lot more are allowing cigar smoking. If that happens and we get more places to smoke, the roof will really blow off sales."

Of course, the critics are already beginning to look for the end to the boom. It will happen. That's the nature of booms and cycles. But for the time being, there's no end in sight. Factories don't have enough capacity to make the cigars that are in demand. And even if the number of smokers levels out soon, it will still take up to three years to have enough tobacco to meet their needs. So when you see cigars you like in the store, buy as many as you can. There's no telling when you might see them again.

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