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Commentary: Just Shopping Around

9 Jan 2013

Nearly everyone knows the obvious elements that make for a good cigar shop. Selection, comfort, prices, welcoming atmosphere, etc. But there are a few things that I think make a good shop and an outstanding one—the sort you want to frequent again and again. And they’re not necessarily what you might think. Here are five attributes I check for:

Cigar Store Indian1. Dust. Cigar shops attract it like almost no other. Smoke adheres to just about every surface, creating a vast, virtual dust magnet. I’m not just talking about the cigar boxes, either. Counters, windowsills, fan blades—you name it and it’ll get dusty without nearly constant attention. A shop owner who’s careful about dust is almost certain to be just as careful about everything else, from maintaining his stock to customer relations.

2. Hot water. Yes, this is kind of silly. But it does turn me off when the restroom has only cold water running in the sink. I have to wonder: If the shop’s pinching pennies at this level, where else is the eagle being squeezed?

3. Inventory awareness. Good owners know which cigars are selling. No one—not even the largest retailers—can stock every cigar. It’s a basic law of cigar physics: To get more in, you have to move some out. Boxes that remain full month after month mean new sticks aren’t arriving. Creative owners find ways to get those old ones out.

4. Light. People come in to enjoy a smoke for all sorts of reasons. Reading, whether it’s the newspaper, a book, a magazine, or an electronic device, is one of those reasons. I always appreciate at least a nook carved out with good lighting and good seating.

5. Wi-Fi. I put this one last because it’s probably the most obvious. With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers, providing good, free Wi-Fi these days should be de rigueur.

If you’re a store owner or work in one, what do you think? Is this reasonable, and are there things I’m missing? Similarly, I hope you customers out there will comment as well.

George E

photo credit: Flickr

7 Responses to “Commentary: Just Shopping Around”

  1. Marky Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    These are all solid attributes to pay attention to. I would add:

    — I like shops that make available plenty of ashtrays that are emptied regularly.
    — Lighters that work or wooden matches should be easily accessed, as well as cutting implements
    — I don't like shop owners who badmouth cigar makers they don't carry

  2. George E Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Good points all. Thanks.

  3. mighty Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I do not like shops that carry magazines that are better left to your typical male dormroom. I am there to enjoy a cigar and to possibly even have some good conversation, not to look at that type of material. There are plenty of other places people can go for that stuff, I really just don't want to see it while trying to enjoy a good cigar.

    • Jaxon Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

      Meh, I like boobies.

      • mighty Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

        That's none of my business. In my opinion you have plenty of other places to find that at. I just want to be able to bring friends, wives, etc. without the worry of someone being uncomfortable. It's just not needed to make a nice environment for enjoying a good cigar.

  4. Bradley Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    The local cigar shop here provides coffee all day, its a very nice touch.
    I also look for personable people that work there. I have gone into some stores that don't even acknowledge that I am there, and others that make you feel like family even if you have never been there before. I am much more likely to give my money to the family feel type of store.

  5. tzoi516 Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    For me it's about respect, which is the main reason why I rarely frequent a B&M now. Most B&Ms in Northern Virginia have a club-like atmosphere, and you can tell what a seller thinks of you by how they handle your purchases. Be nice, don't argue with the customer, don't mash all of the sticks into 1 bag, and don't mix good cigars with infused cigars. Oh, and don't try to sell a crap cigar to someone you think is ignorant about cigars for a cheap laugh between you and your cigar buddies – I see this a lot. It makes the vendor look retarded when I have to talk over them to help a fellow customer.