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An Interview With Pedro Martín

Pedro Martín, the founder and owner of Tropical Tobacco.
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
Orlando Hernandez, Mar/Apr 99

(continued from page 5)

CA: But do you still use Nicaraguan tobacco in some of your cigars?
Martín: Yes.

CA: Has Hurricane Mitch affected your supply at all, or do you expect it to be affected after this season?
Martín: The only thing which I know so far is that the crop is going to be late. I expect to get decent tobacco from there. I hope so.

CA: Is the tobacco you buy from Estelí or from the Jalapa Valley?
Martín: From Estelí. They're planting crops there.

CA: When did you start Tropical Tobacco and why?
Martín: In 1978, I was in Tampa working with P. M. Gonzalez. I used to handle a lot of tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua. I saw some factories. I just got excited about being in the cigar business again.

CA: But it had been 20 years or more since you'd made cigars, right?
Martín: Right, but I fell in love with the business again.

CA: When you started Tropical Tobacco, was the factory here in the United States?
Martín: No, we started buying cigars from the people at a factory in Santa Rosa de Copan in Honduras. It was called Flor de Copan. All the tobacco was from there. Our first brand was Solo Aromas. It was a bundle brand--it still is.

CA: Where was it sold?
Martín: In the United States. But it was not well known.

CA: Did you have your own sales staff or did you use wholesalers?
Martín: I used wholesalers.

CA: Did you have national distribution?
Martín: Not at that time. That took time. To have a national distribution, you've got to have a lot of cigars.

CA: How many cigars did you import that first year?
Martín: Not even half a million: 450,000.

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