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An Interview With Robert Levin

Owner, Holt's Cigar Store, Inc., and the Ashton Brand
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96

(continued from page 13)

Levin: My father had been doing business with the Fuentes for years. I knew them well, too, and they were very, very good friends of mine. I had my differences with Henke. I finally decided it was time to make a move for the brand, and for myself.

CA: Did you have a contract with Henke?

Levin: I didn't have any contract with Henke. When the time came, I just said it was time to move on.

CA: When you started with the Fuentes, was that on a handshake, too, or did you work out a contractual agreement?

Levin: The first few years was just a handshake. Carlos Fuente Jr. and I worked on the blend, worked on the product for six to eight months before we came out with the cigar again.

CA: So in 1988, Ashton was about 300,000 cigars. What was it in 1995?

Levin: We delivered 2 millon cigars in 1995 and that includes Europe and the United States.

CA: How many went to Europe?

Levin: About 300,000 went to Europe.

CA: In 1992, you shipped about one-half millon cigars. How much went to Europe?

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