Smoker Friendly Unveils Authorized Dealer Program

BOULDER, CO - A new retail program from Smoker Friendly International (SFI) is tailored to existing cigarette and tobacco store (CTS) retailers who desire the exclusivity of a private label product acting as their house brand. Under the Smoker Friendly Authorized Dealer Program, retailers benefit from the clout that accompanies a national tobacco brand network, but still retain their own store's local identity.

Participating retailers benefit from synergies generated by collaboration with peers belonging to the industry's only national retail tobacco brand. The program provides retailers the exclusive Smoker Friendly brand of cigarettes, little cigars, RYO/MYO tobaccos, pipe tobacco, premium bundled cigars, and assorted tobacco-related accessories. Dealers also benefit from exclusive territory, very competitive prices, great profit margins, annual rebates, advantages of a buying group, clout with manufacturers, an annual trade show and conference, great in-store sign package, membership in the most recognized team in the industry and no franchise or license fees, according to company officials.

The cost to an Approved Dealer is the required store opening inventory of the Smoker Friendly branded products and the required sign package: a Smoker Friendly window neon sign, Smoker Friendly Tobacco Family menu board, and an Authorized Dealer decal for the front door.

"The growing Smoker Friendly retail footprint allows a smaller operator to be a part of a larger organization that will bring them deals, promotions, in-store contests, purchasing power, rebates, and the like of which a single store retailer or small chain operator might not have the ability to access," says Mickey Falconburg, vice president sales and marketing, Smoker Friendly International.

For further information, contact Mickey Falconburg at 888-751-2785 extension 238 or visit www.smokerfriendly.com.

Altadis U.S.A., Pittsburgh Pirates, Southern Wine & Spirits Launch Montecristo Club at PNC Ballpark

PITTSBURGH, PA - Coinciding with the opening of the 2006 Major League Baseball season, the Pittsburgh Pirates - in partnership with Altadis U.S.A. and Southern Wines & Spirits LLC -unveiled the new Montecristo Club at PNC Park. Located on the ballpark's Pittsburgh Baseball Club Level, the exclusive members-only lounge affords prime views of the ballpark, a full martini and cocktail bar, premium cigars, and live jazz and blues musical performances.

Created to bring a "new level of style, sophistication, and fun to Pirates baseball at PNC Park," the idea for the club resulted from consumer demand after the Pirates held a half-dozen cigar nights during the 2005 season, according to Tim Schuldt, the Pirates' vice president of marketing, sales and broadcasting.

"The Montecristo Club appeals to a specific portion of our fan base that is looking for a more sophisticated experience before, during, and after the game," said Schuldt.

The facility is limited to 200 members and features a custom-built, state-of-the-art ventilation system and private cigar lockers available to the first 100 full-season members.

R.J. Reynolds Opens Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge

CHICAGO, IL - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. opened the Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago's North Side in December. The lounge serves small- batch, hand-crafted super-premium cigarettes made on-premise; has a full service coffee and liquor bar; and offers stylish cafe food. The lounge's goal is to "introduce a level of connoisseurship to toabcco that was previously reserved for other luxury indulgences, such as wines, single-malt Scotches, whiskeys, and cigars," says co-creators Jerry McGearty, a fifth-generation tobacco buyer at R.J. Reynolds, and creative guru Larry McGearty. The plush lounge is appointed with a 44-foot burled walnut smoking bar, handmade leather club chairs, and quirky vintage accessories. But the centerpiece is a proprietary, patent-pending cigarette-making machine used by store tobacconists to make Marshall McGearty cigarettes (available only at the store) from a selection of 10 different blends utilizing exotic and gourmet tobaccos and divided among Light & Smooth, Mellow & Flavorful, or Rich & Full-bodied styles.

Natural American Spirit 2006 Retailer of the Year Contest

SANTA FE, NM - Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company has announced its Natural American Spirit Retailer of the Year Contest for 2006. This ninth annual event provides retailers an exciting and fun opportunity to increase sales of Natural American Spirit by creating a unique display or promotion with Natural American Spirit point-of-sale materials.

New this year, there will be one winner from each region - Northwest, Southwest, Central, and Eastern - for First ($2,500), Second ($1,500), and Third ($1,000) Prizes. In all, there are $40,000 in cash prizes, including a $5,000 Grand Prize.

To participate in the contest, retailers are required to create and showcase a Natural American Spirit display or promotion from June 1, 2006 to June 30, 2006. All entries must include both photos and a written description by which they will be judged, and need to be postmarked no later than August 1, 2006 and received no later than August 15, 2006.

Every participating retailer will receive an entry prize just for showing their spirit! Winners will be judged for their original and creative use of Natural American Spirit point-of-sale materials in designing displays or promotions with the potential to enhance sales. Retailers may request the bold, colorful Natural American Spirit POS materials absolutely free-of-charge to use as a basis for their creations.

For additional information about the Retailer of the Year Contest, free POS material, or merchandise, visit www.nascigs.com (enter code: PROFIT) or call (1-800) 982-7454.

SMOKESHOP - April, 2006