Stogie Commentary: Don’t Forget Your B&M
This may be a golden age for cigar smokers, but it's likely to be a tough time for your local tobacconist. If there's a common refrain I've heard lately from shop owners in my area, it's this: "Guys who used to buy boxes are now buying five or six."
Data seems to support the anecdotal evidence. Imports of premium sticks appear to be down this year from pretty impressive levels in 2007, according to the always authoritative CigarCyclopedia.com.
Selling cigars, even in the best of times, isn't really a road to riches. Most of those who do—though there certainly are exceptions—are strongly motivated by a love of cigars and the cigar culture. But, as they say, love don't pay the bills.
Perhaps buoyed by Tampa's cigar history and a general vacation atmosphere, the area where I live is blessed with an abundance of cigar shops. There are probably a dozen or so legitimate cigar shops of various stripes and sizes within a 30-minute drive of my home. I can't help but wonder how many I'll still be able to visit a year or two from now.
If you're fortunate enough to have high-quality shops nearby, don't forget what your patronage means to them and how much they mean to you. No one should need reminding that with ever-increasing smoking restrictions, cigar shops are among our only remaining refuges.
As times get tough, we all look for ways to save money. There's no doubt that you can do that by shopping on the Internet. And I'm not suggesting you give it up. For some of you, it's the only access you have to get many of the boutique and harder-to-find sticks. Truth be told, many of the major online cigar retailers also maintain shops, so it's sometimes difficult to even draw a distinction.
What I am suggesting is that you bear in mind how much local cigar shops mean and remember that in an unsteady economy they need your patronage more than ever. Don't be guilty of Oscar Wilde's complaint about those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Source: Stogie Guys Online Cigar Magazine