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 12)
C.A.: What you manufactured.
Fuente: We manufactured close to 26 million. We shipped a little over 24 million cigars.
C.A.: And in 1995, what will your production capacity reach with your new capacity?
Fuente: We plan to go to 28 to 30 million.* That will depend on the new factory. We just started the new factory in January and our production is starting to kick in.
C.A.: Don't you have the largest manufacturing company of handmade cigars not just in the Dominican Republic, but in the world? In your total operation, you also manufacture cigars for other brand owners. In particular, you produce Cuesta Rey for the Newmans. In recent years, you've also combined your sales operations with them.
Fuente: Yes, sales.
C.A.: Is that strictly in the United States or all over the world?
Fuente: In the United States.
C.A.: Given your relative size, what prompted you to merge your sales operation in the States with the Newmans?
Fuente: We thought carefully about it. Our brands had been growing constantly. But in the early '80s, we were struggling a little. I had a call one day on the phone from a sales manager who had been a big part of our company. When I first met him I knew he was the person that was going to help us to grow, because he was well liked in the trade and was very knowledgeable. So even though our company was growing he said a lot still had to be done to increase sales. We used to do all the sales from Tampa with Fred Zaniboni and Linda Portugese and other people, including my brother in Tampa.
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