Back in November of 2019 I had the pleasure of visiting the new Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in Sanford, Florida for a soft opening and I will say I was thoroughly impressed with this new lounge. I returned in January to check out the final rendition and to see how things were moving along.
The shop is an extension to the Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in Melbourne, Fl but is independently owned and operated by three principals; Erica Everett, Alex Setzer, and Tom Darnell. The idea of a high end cigar lounge in Sanford, FL was the brainchild of Alex and Tom who were having lunch one day in downtown Sanford and they decided that it would be great to have an upscale cigar bar here.
Tom has several other business interests that vary. This is his passion but he won’t be an operator as it’s something he wants to enjoy on a day to day basis. Alex is an attorney who works in the political field. His other passions are golf , the Gators , and his daughter .
To do it right, Tom reached out to friend, Tony Nardone, owner of Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in Melbourne, Fl. Tom knew he would include Tony‘s expertise and approached him about a licensing agreement. They also employed Erica Everett, the General Manager of the Melbourne location to be project manager of the new location. That proved to be big for Erica as she is now a partner and Director of Operations for the lounge.
Erica told me:
“I used to work for Barnes & Noble for a decade and most enjoyed new store openings. So having been fresh from the Melbourne Executive Cigar Shop relocation last year I wanted to be involved somehow. So it started out as me working part time as a project manager. “
With an agreement on licencing the name, the next step was choosing a location. Tom and Alex looked at numerous locations before settling on the expansive, street level space under the Gateway condominiums looking out at lake Monroe along the Sanford Riverwalk a growing upscale section of Sanford, FL. The location couldn’t have been better. The team acquired the location in December of 2018.
With all the puzzle pieces together, it was time to transform the location into the magnificent cigar lounge. After close to a year of effort, with the support of many friends, family, and community, the Executive Cigar Shop & Lounge in Sanford had a soft opening, November 11, 2019. The event was attended by all those friends and family that supported the effort, including the Mayor of Sanford, FL – Jeff Triplett.
The opening gave everyone a glimpse into the vision of Tom, Alex, and Erica. I drove over for the opening and was impressed from the moment I saw the building sitting across from Lake Monroe. An expansive 2 level outdoor patio wraps around the building with seating, drink service, and even a fire pit. The day I was there, they had a jazz sax player on the patio. I returned again in January when they unveiled their new exclusive member board room and they had a live rock band on the patio. Entertainment is something they plan on doing on a regular basis.
Once you enter the lounge, you can’t help but feel like this is a place for any cigar enthusiast to relax and enjoy a fine premium cigar and let any worries of the day just fade away. The lounge is huge with plenty of comfortable leather couches and chairs. The walls are adorned with custom artwork and they have a polished cement floor. The lounge is impeccably clean and they reached deep in their pockets to install a ventilation system that followed the blueprint from the Melbourne location where they have no smoke eaters but rather an air filtration system built into the HVAC. The bathrooms are spotless and attended to regularly, ensuring a clean environment.
If you wish, you can join their Presidents Club which affords you a 25% discount on all cigar purchases and applies to both the Sanford and Melbourne locations. You can also opt to rent a cigar locker if you so desired.
The centerpiece is the large bar that has a curved granite top and plenty of seats. The bar is back lit on the bottom making it that much more attractive. They offer a full selection of spirits, fine wine, and bottled beer, and a few taps. The bartenders are attentive, pleasant, and knowledgeable (not just in beverages but also in cigars). Like the sister lounge in Melbourne, FL, all staff are trained in cigar knowledge.
The large glass humidor is fully stocked with the finest premium cigars on the market. So finding something to meet your palate will not be an issue. The only ding I would give them is the amount of boutique cigars they carry. There is just a small selection at this time. When I asked Erica about that, she noted that the clientele gravitate more to the larger brands but they will see how it progresses and what the regular patrons desire. The humidor is nicely lit, well organized, and I had no problem finding something I like.
Here is a short video I shot walking through the lounge and the humidor to give a glimpse into the Executive Cigar experience.
The soft opening on November 11, 2019 was capped off with a some short speeches and welcoming remarks from the owners, and Mayer Triplett. Here is a video of opening day remarks.
Exclusive Members Board Room
In addition to the shop and lounge that is open to the public, Executive Cigars Sanford offers a special VIP membership program that provides members exclusive 24/7 access to a “Members Only” Board Room. This special lounge has member lockers, a bar with complementary house beer and wine, VIP bathrooms, and an automatic membership in the shops Presidents Club. They also have super hi-speed internet in this area so if you need to get some work done and want to enjoy a cigar, you have a place to do it in a more quiet surrounding. Erica did not disclose the cost of membership, but I did learn there is a yearly and a lifetime option.
My second visit to Sanford afforded me the opportunity to experience the unveiling of this addition and I would say, if I lived in Sanford, I may very well have a membership there. Just think about owning a condominium in the complex above Executive Cigars and when ever you want to kick back in a lounge environment, you go downstairs and enter your exclusive place any time of the day or night. You have comfortable seating, big screen TVs and beer and wine. That’s a nice life eh?
Location and Hours of Operation
Executive Cigar Sanford is located at 225 West Seminole Blvd Sanford, Florida right along the Riverwalk overlooking Lake Monroe.
They are open 6 days a week with the following hours:
- 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
- 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- 2:00 pm – 11:00 pm
- 2:00 pm – 12:00 am
- 2:00 pm – 12:00 am
You can reach them at:
- Phone: (321) 926-3611
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/execsanford/
Overall, I had a terrific time during my two visits and will be heading back again for sure. This is one of the nicest lounges I have had the pleasure of entering. If you are in the central Florida area, swing by Executive Cigar – Sanford.