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Q&A: An Interview With Jorge Padrón

The president of Padrón Cigars Inc. speaks about his Nicaraguan cigar brand.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Gen. Tommy Franks, Nov/Dec 03

Jorge Padrón has been surrounded by tobacco his entire life. As a child, he spent his summer vacations working for the family business—Padrón Cigars Inc.—learning the art of cigar making and tobacco processing at the side of his father, chairman Jose Orlando Padrón. He has spent more than seven years as president of the Miami company, and today the 35-year-old is taking a more active role in the business. In June, senior editor David Savona traveled to Nicaragua to meet Padrón the week he opened the company's new, larger factory in Estelí, the small, agricultural town where most of Nicaragua's cigars are made.

David Savona: How did you get your start in the family business?

Jorge Padrón: In our family, we were not forced to enter this business. It just sort of happens. I remember when I was young, in high school, I'd spend the whole summer working in the factory. I used to call that the tobacco tan. All my friends would go to the beach, and I was going to the factory in Miami.

Q: Would you also do this after school?

A: No, school was school, but in the summers I would spend most of the time working in the factory. Before I drove, my dad would wake me up at 6:30 in the morning to go to the office. Early in the morning he would come into my room, turn on the lights and start shaking my feet so I would get out of the bed.

Q: I'm sure you loved that.

A: Well, at first, you kind of resisted, but after a while you would just expect it.

Q: About what age did that start?

A: I must have been 13, 14. I came to Nicaragua in 1976 for the first time, when I was eight.

Q: Do you have memories of that trip?

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