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Reviving a Tradition

A Business Powerhouse in the Dominican Republic, Empresas León Jimenes Is Returning to Its Cigar Making Heritage
Juan O. Tamayo
From the Print Edition:
Danny DeVito, Winter 96

(continued from page 3)

Tourism doesn't hurt, either. Millions of European and Canadian tourists visit the Dominican Republic each year to enjoy its white sandy beaches, broiling sun and quality rums. While they can all buy cigars at the airport on their way home, if they want to light up a few while lazing on the beach, it's probably going to be a León Jimenes. Most of the Dominican Republic's other cigar factories are in-bond operations, which means they import leaves and export cigars virtually duty-free, but are not allowed to sell locally.

Some of the tourists, about 70,000 each year, make their way to the León Jimenes complex in Santiago for a tour of the cigar and cigarette operations. At tour's end, there's a free Presidente beer or glass of Tang, served at tables topped with glass cases displaying the various León Jimenes and La Aurora premium cigars. They are all on sale, of course, at the air-conditioned cigar sales shop just next door.

"We make top quality cigars," says Guillermo León. "And we know how to sell them."

Juan O. Tamayo is a foreign correspondent with The Miami Herald.

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