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August,
2007

La Tradicion Cubana:
Careful Steps Mark a New Beginning?

The birth, growth, loss, and rebirth of a storied Little Havana cigar maker turning a new leaf in the Dominican Republic.

By Dale Scott

"I just stared at the burning ruins for hours ... we lost everything," reports Luis Sánchez. Pablo Romay adds, "I went to the beach near Santiago and cried. There was nothing else to do." La Tradición Cubana Cigars, Inc., a 12-year-old Miami-based manufacturer of Cuban-style premium cigars, was suddenly, without warning and, completely destroyed. Last November 19th, a morning fire leveled the business, along with several other Calle Ocho businesses in the Little Havana district. Arson was the cause, but there were no arrests. Retailers knew Sánchez from his booth at every RTDA trade show, as well as his familiar ads featuring street scenes and 1950s cars from Old Havana, Cuba.

Smokeshop had heard Sánchez, the Cuban-born founder of La Tradición Cubana, had scaled back cigar production at his Little Havana factory, expanding manufacturing by adding a new factory in Santiago, Dominican Rep