Always support the little guys. And no, we don’t mean just the boutique blends. What we mean are the privately owned cigar brands and retailers. And that goes all the way from that tiny tobacconist at the end of the street to big, yet privately owned, brands like Rocky Patel. Support them for the service they offer, and for keeping the industry alive.
We get it, not everybody lives close to a tobacconist. Or has the time or opportunity to visit a retail outlet regularly. So ordering cigars online is sometimes a necessity. Other times it is just convenient. But there’s nothing wrong with ordering online, it is just a matter of where. Plenty of independent retailers offer a great selection of cigars online.
One of the comments we hear a lot is “but cigars are so much cheaper in the big web shops in the United States”. But those comparisons aren’t fair. Those are prices without taxes. And don’t forget, importing tobacco without a license is prohibited in many countries. So if you do, you’re both breaking the law and evading tax. Most countries allow an x number of cigars to be brought in duty-free, but that does not count for mail packages.
Support the independent retailer
Why is this so important to us? Well, without those retailers, who is there to educate you? To guide you through the world of the cigar? To service your accessories when there are issues? To host events where you meet other cigar aficionados in your area? Where you form friendships? The personal service in these shops and their owner’s supply is immense. You won’t get that service at the big, corporate or foreign webshops. A real tobacco shop offers up close and personal service and more. And builds relationships. And some of them offer lounges, where you can enjoy your cigars. That’s impossible for the big online retailers.
The independent retailers are also the ones that rejuvenate the industry. They are the ones that are willing to try new cigars. Making room for the boutique brands. And those are the brands that innovate. Without those retailers, who keep the cigar scene alive, the landscape would be very different. And not as vibrant as it is. Highly recommended and praised brands, such as RoMa Craft, heavily rely on those independent retailers. And the retailers rely on those small, independent, brands to set them apart from the competition. The two can’t do it without each other. And without the support of the cigar aficionados.
The large webshops owned by the big tobacco companies have so much buying power that they van squeeze manufacturers. They buy so much that they can negotiate prices that are close to theft. We know, those big companies with their huge online shops can offer cigars at rock bottom prices. So they make it hard to resist. But in the end, it’s a short term saving. In the long run, you’re hurting the cigar culture by ordering from them. Don’t get it wrong, we are not suggesting a boycott. We’re just asking to support the independent retailers as well.
Support the independent brands
Those multi-billion companies can easily pay the user fees and the costs that the legislation will bring. While for the smaller boutique brands, those costs will be too much to bear. The legislation is the easiest way to kill competition for big players such as Altria, General Cigars and Altadis.
Support the ones that deserve it
So in conclusion: if you care about the cigar culture always support the little guys. If you care about quality, always support the little guys. If you care about innovation, always support the little guys. As Steve Saka said on Facebook, those companies are the ones producing the best cigars.