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06-Nov-2007
Bangor: New business celebrates the cigar

When you walk into the new cigar shop on Main Street, one of the first things you notice is the wall of glass — the largest walk-in humidor in Maine — in the back of the room.

After a few steps into the Cigar & Smoke Shoppe, other items come into focus, including a fireplace, oriental rug, leather love seat and ottoman, small cafe-style table, TV and ashtrays.

Yes, that's right — ashtrays, which are banned in most businesses in Maine.

The Cigar & Smoke Shoppe, which opened a week ago next to Spanky's Pizza, not only distributes fine cigars and tobacco but also features a smoking lounge.

It's a place where "someone can sit back, relax, watch TV and smoke their cigar," owner Frank Coglitore said Friday with a burning stogie in hand.

A Maine law enacted Jan. 1, 2004, prohibits smoking in "all enclosed areas of public places and all restrooms made available to the public," but there are 14 exceptions to it.

The Cigar & Smoke Shoppe falls under those exceptions because cigar shop customers are smokers and Coglitore is the sole owner and operator.

"A lot of people butt their cigarettes outside, and I tell them it's OK to smoke in here," he said.

The new business has two air purifiers that are attached to two ceiling fans and an exhaust fan.

"Every two minutes the air is totally circulated," Coglitore said.

The massive humidor constantly controls the temperature and humidity level of the room to ensure freshness of the tobaccos.

"We have 250 different types of hand-rolled cigars," the owner said, estimating their value at approximately $50,000.

They come from all over the world, but none are Cuban, Coglitore explained. "That would be illegal," he noted. "The mystery behind the Cuban cigar is that they're illegal. They smoke them in Canada."

The best-selling cigars for Coglitore are the Arturo Fuente brand from the Dominican Republic, while the Macanudo, made from tobaccos from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, comes in a close second.

The Cigar & Smoke Shoppe carries cigars that are light, others with a stronger, richer taste, and at least eight types of flavored cigars.

The shop also sells cigarettes.

"We carry the standard [brand name] product that all smoke shops carry, but what we have is an atmosphere," Coglitore said.

No one under the age of 18 is allowed to smoke in the lounge or buy smoking products.

Coglitore said he opened the shop because he wanted to run his own business — and he wanted to give himself a nice place to smoke.

"It's just too cold," he said. "The only thing I could think of doing is opening up my own place."


Source: Bangor Daily News