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Silver Chaveta Winner 2009

Hunters & Frankau has awarded the Silver Chaveta for Habanos Retailer of the Year 2009 to Paul Gilmour of Shave & Coster in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the UK fine cigar trade.

Paul was presented with the coveted award by Jemma Freeman, H&F’s Managing Director, for the dual successes of Shave & Coster (Reading) and The Bear Shop (Cardiff) during a dinner at The Ten Manchester Street Hotel, home of one of London’s most comfortable outdoor cigar terraces.

Also in attendance were Paul’s wife Karen, David Lewis, H&F’s Chairman, Ignacio Balmaseda, H&F’s Corporate Director, Simon Chase, an H&F Director, and Sean Croley, H&F’s Sales & Marketing General Manager.

Proceedings began with drinks on the cigar terrace, accompanied by an El Rey del Mundo Choix de L Époque. When Jemma formally presented the award, she commended Paul’s commitment to Habanos. She described his 2009 sales increase as ‘a truly impressive accomplishment’ and recognised Paul’s excellent reputation for the way he looks after his customers and the personal service he and his family give them.

After dinner the party moved back onto the terrace to enjoy the Romeo y Julieta Duke or the Juan López Selección Suprema.
Paul came into the tobacco industry in the early 1990s when he purchased M. Shave in Newbury, principally for his wife Karen to run. Then, when he left the financial services industry, he joined her in the business, adding a further store in Reading soon afterwards.

From their earliest days in the tobacco trade Paul and Karen built a strong and lasting friendship with the late Alan Coster of Coster & Son Ltd. in Marlow. When Alan closed the doors of his 126 year-old family business for the last time, Paul and Karen decided to do something about it. As a tribute to Alan, they incorporated the Coster name into their business, thus becoming Shave & Coster and continuing the tradition of the Coster name in the Thames valley.

In 2008, when The Bear Shop in Cardiff came under threat of closure, Paul stepped in and saved it, thus preserving the skills of the specialist tobacconist in the Principality’s capital city.

Paul put his success down to ‘a lot of hard work and customer service. Knowing what the customer wants and responding to it is the key to running a successful business these days.’

He will attend the Habanos Festival in Havana at the end of February as a guest of Hunters & Frankau.

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