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An Interview with Stanford Newman

Chairman, J.C. Newman Cigar Co., Tampa, Florida, the owners of Cuesta-Rey and Diamond Crown cigars.

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CA: In 1996, how many Diamond Crown humidors did you sell?
Newman: About 40,000.
CA: Forty thousand! Maybe you'll go out of the cigar business! [Laughter]
Newman: We have some new accounts [about which] Carlos is saying, "We can't sell them cigars, but we can sell them humidors." I mean, we haven't opened a new account for two years on Cuesta-Rey or Fuente cigars.
CA: You said earlier that your father started in the cigar business in 1895.
Newman: That's right.
CA: You bought out your relatives in 1986.
Newman: In 1986.
CA: So, it's your family's business. You have two sons, Eric and Bobby, who are in the business. You have a grandson, Drew, who plans to get more involved. What's your dream for your family and the future of your family business?
Newman: My family can be in this business for another 100 years if they will apply what my father told me. He said, "If you make cigars of quality, you can stay in business for another 100 years, but if you make something cheap, somebody can always make them cheaper and you'll go out of business in six months." He impressed that upon me all the time, that we should strive to make something of quality. Now, something has happened in our whole culture. There're a lot of upscale people. In the past 20 years, you see ads in the paper for people where they can get more interest on CDs. There's so much disposable income. We have a situation in our country where there are trillions in mutual funds. Where did the money come from? That's all disposable income. It's from somebody. And so, we have a market out here that people will enjoy a product if they enjoy life, and they can enjoy a cigar. That's why I feel that [our family business is] going to be here for a long time. But, my sons have to be very, very careful for the future of the business that they stay focused on what they're doing. And, one of the things is if they want to hold on to their business or if they decide to go public. If they decide to go public, then it's a public business and it's no longer theirs anymore.
CA: What would you recommend them to do?
Newman: I recommend that they just keep on working, and enjoying life, and try to make the quality products and try to be of service to customers and try to have a mission in this world for the company and for themselves. Not just making money, but for something to help humanity.
Clifford Brown independence, ky, usa, May 14, 2013 3:47pm ET
That is a truly amazing article!

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