ACE Prime and Tabacalera Pichardo recently published an article on what they are doing to combat the COVID-19 crisis in their factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. In the article they describe how they empowered their workers and have been working tirelessly on a sustainable and healthy solution for their workers and the factory.
The article starts with how Tabacalera Pichardo always recognized how imperative it was that the company empower their workers; provide them with opportunity, healthcare, fair wages, and education; and elevate the infrastructure and local economy of Esteli. The company believes that when they are making some of the world’s finest cigars, supporting their employees in every way is non-negotiable.
Luciano Meirelles, ACE Prime co-founder, recalled:
“Even when we were just coming up with the idea of what would become ACE Prime, we were certain that this brand would have to be disruptive and impactful. Our work could not be merely about profit and products, about the lives we could change with our cigars–both in our factory and in the Esteli community and throughout the world.”
Hundreds of Hands Are Being Helped
It takes a lot of hands to craft a quality product in the cigar industry and ACE Prime has been working tirelessly on a sustainable and healthy solution for their workers and the factory. As part of this solution, the company implemented a number of changes for their employees:
- Weekly distribution of some food items to workers on top of their hourly wages.
- Each worker receives rice, beans, eggs, chicken, and other basic items in order to assure they are taken care of.
- Though Esteli has not seen many, if any, coronavirus cases, the company chose to only open the factory part-time, in order to protect employees.
The company noted that Oscar, their general assistant and driver at the factory showed great generosity by donating his basket of food to another family in need. The company was in awe of his generosity at a time of such uncertainty, where so many others would have taken and stored the food items instead of giving them away.
“The beauty of seeing Oscar being selfless lies in how generosity breeds generosity. As we capacitate our employees and empower them, there’s so much good that rises to the surface,” Meirelles stated.
The article went on to note:
“In Nicaragua much like other developing countries, COVID-19 has been widening the gap between rich and poor, shedding light on the extent of inequality and poverty that dominates its vulnerable communities. With this pandemic, the difference between the wealthy and the poor has become survival — where access to food, healthcare, hygiene, and infrastructure is limited and coveted.”
By providing fair wages and any additional necessary support, the company and factory plans to always elevate their employees.
“We have never been ignorant of the poverty that plagues Nicaragua, and we have always been eager to best assist our workers by going beyond wages and seeing what kind of impact we could have on the community. Now with COVID-19, it’s clear that helping our workers is indispensable,” Meirelles said.
The Future of ACE Prime
ACE Prime knew they were faced with an impossible situation during the last couple of months in trying to decide how to proceed in the midst of a global pandemic. Though they did not have a clear cut plan for dealing with the current public health crisis, their first conviction was to do everything they could in order to support their workers and the community of Esteli.
When asked about the future of ACE Prime, Luciano Meirelles did not hesitate to answer:
“It’s full of uncertainty right now, but our commitment to making great cigars and improving lives and vulnerable communities remains steadfast.”
Want to Help?
If you’re interested in the efforts and work at, Tabacalera Pichardo, in Esteli, Nicaragua, please don’t hesitate to reach out in order to find out more and become involved in the work there.
The company noted:
“As a company, ACE Prime recognizes the importance of every retailer that carries our products and of every consumer who loves our cigars as much as we do, and we are thankful for retailers and consumers both for investing in and supporting our brand. ACE Prime’s business will always be improving lives through our products, by supporting our workers and giving these artisans the opportunity to translate passion into incredible taste.“