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Richard L. DiMeola

Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, Consolidated Cigar Corporation
From the Print Edition:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Summer 96

(continued from page 27)

CA: Image.

DiMeola: Image. So we need to bring $5 cigars to them.

CA: Are the questions that they're asking changing?

DiMeola: Yeah, sure. They're becoming more sophisticated. They're being educated by Cigar Aficionado . They are being educated at these dinners. You no longer get the questions, "How do you cut a cigar?" "How do you light a cigar?" They want to know how it's made. They want to know where the tobacco comes from. They want to know the same questions you're asking about Cuba. They want to know about Cuban cigars--"Are Cuban cigars really the best in the world?" You get stories from them about "I went out and tried a Cuban cigar, and I didn't like it." And the answer to that is that everybody has their own taste and everybody has their own preferences. Try the Cuban cigar, see if you like it. Even though--remember it's illegal--except [outside the United States].

CA: Do you think that all the recent publicity regarding women cigar smokers is hype and P.R., or do you really see a significant market evolving?

DiMeola: If you asked me that question two years ago, I would have said there's absolutely no way that anybody can build a market in cigars selling to women. And now, here I am creating a couple of new shapes we're calling Cleopatra, designed for women.

CA: Tell me about Cleopatra.

DiMeola: Well, I don't want to tell you what it is because it's not on the market yet, and I don't want to educate anybody to that extent.

CA: Well, is it going to be on the market soon?

DiMeola: I hope so.

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