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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 3)

Levin: When I first went into my father's business, I had no intention of staying in this business. My father needed help. I was wandering around the world at the time, and I didn't have a career. At the time, I was basically just getting into the business to help out the family. I was just going to do it for a few months and then go off and do something else.

CA: Did you have any particular passion or interest in cigars in those days?

Levin: No. I did it to help out my father, who had some health problems. But as I got into the business and took it over, my love of cigars started to come out.

CA: How big was the business in those days?

Levin: In the mid-'80s we went over $1 million in sales.

CA: So at that time, was it essentially a cigar shop?

Levin: Yes. Mainly cigars. But we had pipes, too. In the early '80s, we started to sell pens and that became a very profitable item for us. But, we were always mainly cigar merchants, or as we like to call it, cigar specialists.

CA: Did you have a significant catalog business at that point?

Levin: Yes.

CA: Did that precede you or did you create that?

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