Every now and then I come across an interesting question posted in one the many Cigar Related Social Media groups I belong to. The other week I was intrigued by a post posted on the “Cigar Cartel” Facebook group from fellow BOTL and Red Sox fan – Scott Bain.
Scott asked the group:
If you were to enter your favorite smoke shop, what does it have that brings you back? What makes it your favorite? Is it a certain chair?
Well Scott got a lot of replies to that question and after reviewing them I thought it would be interesting to summarize what other Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf said about why the return to their favorite cigar shops and avoid others.
We like different smoking areas in cigar shops so that we can find places to smoke with groups of friends or just in solitude if that is my preference. Besides different spaces it is always good to have some quite areas where you can sit and read a book while enjoying a cigar. Solitude moments are critical to the smoking experience and besides we are not all social butterflies.
We seem to be against the idea of cutting fees or no carry in’s. Now of course I fully understand the shops view-point but if you are purchasing other offerings like a beverage or another cigar to take home I think it should be allowed. Many times I don’t want to smoke a cigar until it is in my humidor for a few weeks so bringing one in and buying another to take home should be acceptable. And we agree that if you walk in smoking a cigar you should not be approached and told “we don’t allow walk in cigars” unless of course that same patron is a regular offender.
We like people. We tend to prefer cigar shops that are friendly and welcoming not exclusive. When it feels like family we will be back for sure. Smoking cigars is all about the comradery and interaction.
We certainly appreciate a knowledgeable staff. Many times we know what we like but we want to try something new. Having an educated tobacconist or staff member to help you with new blends that meet your palate is great for you, the shop, and the manufactures.
We like to smoke but we like to breathe also. Ventilation, yea that is key. We all like smoking cigars but we don’t like smoke-filled cigar shops. It offsets the individual smoking experience. It is also makes it hard to bring in a non-smoking friend to enjoy some time, not to mention that many of the Ladies I have spoken with prefer a well-ventilated shop/lounge.
We like variety and selection is critical. We may like certain brands and blends and yes there are certain must haves like Rocky Patel, Perdomo, Ghurka, Padron, etc – but the shop should have additional offerings and bring in occasional new lines to add to the mix. I can’t tell how many cigar shops I have been in this past year that did not carry the “Leaf by Oscar” but once the owner was introduced to it they brought it in and now I hear more and more Brothers and Sisters talking about it. The shop cannot carry everything but at least mix it up and certainly present the new blends to the loyal patrons.
We like professional looking staff. It is nice to see the help dressed clean and professional as opposed to old jeans and a metal head t-shirt from the 90s. Don’t get me wrong, I like heavy metal and cigar shops cater to a specific crowd so this is a tough one. Obviously if you don’t like that then you probably will not frequent the shop, but then again we are all cigar smokers and one of the cardinal rules is that we leave behind social status, race, creed, and education and gather to smoke the leaf. The British are known for removing the bands from their cigars before smoking them so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable that they have a lesser cigar.
We have names, and like the TV show Cheers, where everyone knows your name, we like it when owners and staff in cigar shops know our name whenever we come back, this goes back to the warm welcome inclusive environment.
We all like bargains and deals, so have great prices and specials. We all love that, and it is a great way to introduce a patron to new smokes they may not have tried. When I enter cigar shops, I always ask about what’s new and if there are any specials. I then normally purchase the special in addition to what I walked in for, just to try something new or something I have not had lately.
We prefer cleanliness. Nothing is worse than walking into cigar shops that are a mess with dust on the tables and ashes strewn about, ash trays that are not regularly cleaned and oh yea my own pet peeve – messy dirty rest rooms. Keep the shop clean, train the staff to clean things up when they are not serving customers and we will appreciate it.
We love living in the 21st century and therefore appreciate free Wi-fi. We live on our smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Having a place to sit and surf the web, read news and articles, and even get some work done while enjoying your favorite stick is not a lot to ask.
We enjoy TV. It is one of Americas past times but if you have more than one don’t have the sound turned up on all them, Pick one and put the others on mute. We also like variety so don’t just don’t have them tuned to Fox news or MSNBC all the time, sometimes the Lucy Show is fun to watch and a great escape from the daily grind which is why we are there any way.
We had long days at work or home and want a place to relax with comfortable chairs, couches, and stools. When we relax in a shop we want to relax. The shop is an extension to our living space, sometimes the only comfortable place we can go to smoke a cigar and just chill out for an hour or two. Make it comfy and inviting and we are back.
I want to thank Scott Bain again for coming up with this question and allowing me to use his thread responses as a source for this article.