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Edgar Cullman Jr.

CEO, General Cigar Company
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Demi Moore, Autumn 96

(continued from page 16)

Cullman: I think it's a little too early to talk about it, because I haven't made up my mind exactly where it's going to lead.

CA: But, specifically, you now have Club Macanudo, which is beautiful. Have you determined whether or not it's going to be a single-unit flagship, or is it something that you plan to take to other cities around the country, around the world, or is that still in the analysis stage?

Cullman: As we speak, we are looking at sites in other cities in the United States. It's something we take very seriously, because I feel that the demand that we've seen at Club Macanudo is significant enough to warrant us to go look elsewhere. I think that after we have established two or three of these Club Macanudos around other parts of the country, we will seriously consider a franchise concept. I'm really not interested per se in running cigar bars. What I am interested in is in maintaining the brand.

CA: Will these likely be the obvious cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, which are major premium cigar markets?

Cullman: Absolutely. Obviously.

CA: Will future Club Macanudos be larger?

Cullman: Well, the first thing to look at is where in each of these markets we might end up. We all know Chicago is a big city or Los Angeles or Miami or Washington; they're all big cities and each has an area of the city that might be appropriate. I happen to know New York pretty well. The area we are in has proven to be a very, very successful location. You must have seen the article in The [New York] Times a couple of weeks ago about the resurgence of Madison Avenue and all of the boutiques along Madison Avenue. That's all in our neighborhood on 63rd Street between Madison and Park, so the most difficult decision is to narrow it down to a location that fits. We've also learned a great deal from Club Macanudo, so we will be able to take advantage of what we've learned. If we can, we will try to make it bigger. But it is big enough to generate good incomes for anyone ultimately who wants to franchise. And you are right, I'd like to take this around the world. I think there is a unique opportunity to create a cigar bar in major cities where cigar smoking actually is not that big. Take Tokyo as an example. I think it would be dynamite in Tokyo because there would be people who would flock there.

CA: There's been a lot said and written about the shortage of large-leaf tobacco for the bigger sizes of cigars. Is that still a problem? Will it continue to be a problem for the next few years or could consumers begin to find the larger size cigars which they really can't get today?

Cullman: Most retailers are selling more cigars today, at a larger ring gauge, and in larger sizes then they have ever sold before. So while you're saying you can't get them, there are many more that have been on the market.

CA: But in the leading brands, it's tough to come by.


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