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Dominican Flowers

A Relative Newcomer to the Cigar Industry, La Flor Dominicana Is Taking Root and Blooming
Jim Daniels
From the Print Edition:
Pierce Brosnan, Nov/Dec 97

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Lorenzo says that during the recent shortage of premium cigars, with retailers clamoring for their brand, La Flor Dominicana never raised its prices and always made sure that its customers were well supplied. Some of these customers later told the couple that La Flor Dominicana kept them in business. Lorenzo says that their policy is to maintain a commitment to deliver cigars every time a customers reorders, adding that they have been careful to develop a relationship with retailers who are serious about cigars.

Cigar Night at the bar of the Hotel Gran Almirante in Santiago is a weekly event that Gomez, Lorenzo and other luminaries of the Dominican cigar industry attend faithfully. As a local band played a merengue tune on-stage during a recent Cigar Night, Lorenzo and Gomez were seated at a table near the back. A man walked over to Gomez and offered him samples of his handmade cigars. He was about to start a small cigar-manufacturing operation and had sought out the cigarmaker's feedback on two of his prototypes.

They talked for a while, with Gomez listening carefully to the man's plans. He accepted his cigars, which he smoked after the man had left. Upon closer examination, it became obvious that one cigar was poorly constructed, with an uneven wrapper and loose filler. The other was better made. The man, it turned out, was a former employee of La Flor Dominicana whom Gomez had let go. Nonetheless, they have remained friends and Gomez was happy to offer him his advice, adding, "Don't show anyone cigars that you can't deliver later." The encounter spoke to Gomez's attitude about protecting the cigar business. "This industry is about relationships."

As the noise continued around them, Gomez and Lorenzo glanced at each other and smiled. For these two entrepreneurs, partners in both business and marriage, their success in the tobacco industry is tied directly to their own unique relationship.

Jim Daniels is a Maine-based writer-photographer who reports frequently from Latin America.

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