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New Beginnings

Please excuse my prolonged absence from these pages. Events can often get in the way of even the best laid plans. However, with every New Year comes fresh aspirations and I am resolved, this year, to post a blog far more regularly than in the past twelve months.

On Friday (15/01/10) I popped into see Mitch Orchant’s new shop in West Hampstead and had a coffee with Lucia Zvalena, the new manager there. The shop opened in December and Lucia explained that it has already received tremendous support from the local residents happy to see a traditional tobacconist, with such a fantastic selection, opening up in their area.
They open late and stay open late (11am – 7pm) to ensure they can meet the locals needs and are thinking about adding an extra hour during summer time.

What a great sight to see a new specialist tobacconist opening up and credit must go to Mitch and the team for their continued commitment, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial endeavour.

As you would expect from C.Gars and Robert Graham, the store is brimming to capacity with cigars, tobacco, whiskey, and many other treats such as special humidors and gift boxes. It is a real treasure trove. The cigars are in fine condition, the range is superb including all current Limited Editions and UK Regional Editions and Lucia’s product knowledge and zeal is a huge asset. There is even a comfortable leather chair in the corner – ideal for sampling. There can be little doubt this store will quickly become a haven for cigar smokers. Having been in the shop and witnessed a brisk trade, even during a ‘quiet’ period, I have every confidence that this new concern will prove to be a huge success and wish them the best of luck in making it so. It is certainly worth taking a look in when you get the chance.

From there it was onto Davidoff’s in Jermyn Street and Lunch with Eddie Sahakian. Eddie is now working with his father full time at the world famous Davidoff Shop. It is a real pleasure to welcome him to the cigar trade although he is no novice having gained a great deal of experience after many years of helping his father in the store. Eddie is a passionate cigar smoker and a real aficionado so after a very good lunch at Franco’s on Jermyn Street we took advantage of their outside tables and heaters in order to enjoy a cigar. I smoked a Cuaba Divinos while Eddie enjoyed Cohiba Siglo VI and we chatted about his plans for the year ahead.

All in all a very positive day and a clear rebuttal to many of the doom mongers among us. Yes, times are hard and the political wind may be against us, but with people like Eddie and Mitch on our side, the future looks to be in very good hands.