There is something to be said about a business that has survived for over 2 decades, the perseverance alone is worth an applause. Couple that with an industry like the cigar business with its regulations and hurdles you have to overcome on a regular basis, not to mention shifting demographics, and I would declare such a business a resounding success. Such is the case with Cigarz on the Avenue, a shop that has recently celebrated 20 years in the business.
Cigarz on the Avenue was founded in 1996 by Mark Angelo, a former sporting-goods retailer, and previous minor league baseball player for the St. Luis Cardinals. Angelo, sold Global Sports USA on Church Street in 1995 and with investor R.C. Hill, they doubled the size of the store, adding private cigar lockers and a cigar club with an outdoor courtyard.
In 2001, Mark Angelo sold the store to Don Patel who has a true passion for cigars. Patel has been operating it since. The shop is nestled along the tree-lined brick streets of Winter Park, Fl, an iconic Florida City that was settled in 1882 and subsequently incorporated as a town in 1887. The city was officially incorporated in 1925.
Cigarz on the Avenue is located on South Park Avenue which is the main street, running through the town. The area is easily accessible, as it is just outside of Orlando and a short 5 minute drive from Interstate 4 that runs through the Orlando area. The drive becomes quite scenic as you get into Winter Park which is a trip back to early 20th century Florida. I trekked over from Melbourne, FL this past Thursday to attend an MBombay Cigars event with Mel Shah. This was my first time visiting the shop.
I found parking to be easy on a side street and walked over to the shop, taking in the evening beauty of the city. You can’t miss the shop, it is located next door to the Pottery Barn that is in the original Colony movie theater and still has the original theater sign. As you walk up to the shop you will likely meet some patrons sitting outside puffing on their favorite brands.
Once you enter you are greeted by a classic cigar store Indian and then you are in the main seating and humidor area of the shop with black leather couches and ample ventilation. The showcase humidors lines the walls in the area with many notable brands including Davidoff, Padron, Arturo Fuente, Rocky Patel, Perdomo and more. I would not call this a boutique cigar house, but they do carry some popular smaller brands like Caldwell, Cordoba y Morales, Espinosa, Tabacu and of course MBombay which is why I was there in the first place. What I really liked was how they have carved wooden signs, ,for each brand, along the top of the showcases.
Walking towards the back of the shop there is another lounge area with a big screen TV and cigar lockers for rent. If that was not enough, there is beautiful back patio with tables and seating and a center fountain and makes for a perfect place to cater a cigar party. The shop does not sell alcoholic beverages but does have soft drinks and coffee for sale.
Coming back in to the main seating area, you will also note the wide selection of high-end cigar accessories including Elie Blue cutters and lighters and a selection of table top humidors and ash trays. This is certainly a high-end cigar shop, so much so that Davidoff even made a special anniversary cigar for their 20 years in the business. I found all the patrons to be warm and welcoming with some great cigar shop conversations that got into topics like Block Chain technology, medical computer security, and of course cigars and the cigar lifestyle.
MBombay Cigars Update
After taking my walk through, I settled down in one their comfy leather seats and spent a little time catching up with Mel on his MBombay line. Mel informed me that business has been doing well and they are now in over 450 shops across the country. They currently are not releasing anything new for 2018 but are going to concentrate on building a larger retail presence. The main SKU they have added is a 5 pack sampler that covers their line and also includes the MBombay Classic Torpedo which is only available in the sampler pack which retails for about $45.00. Of course, if you purchased a box of MBombay cigars at the event you got three samplers in the price of the box.
I would like to thank Cigarz on the Avenue owner Don Patel , his store manager Sean Armstrong, and of course Mel Shah for a wonderful cigar evening. It was worth the one hour drive to spend time there and the next time I am in the area I certainly will be back If you are ever down here in the Orlando area I highly recommend a stop over at Cigarz on the Avenue.
The shop is located at 331 S Park Ave. Winter Park, Florida 32789 and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 9 PM. You can contact them at (407) 647-2427.