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December,
2006

TRENDS AND TRENDSETTERS IN TOBACCO RETAILING
Davidoff Purchases New York’s De La Concha Tobacconist

New York — Davidoff of Geneva USA purchased De la Concha Tobacconist in New York on December 1. The landmark tobacconist store in Manhattan, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2005, will remain essentially unchanged according to Davidoff.

Lionel Melendi, founder of the company, has retired, and his son, Ron Melendi, has been appointed general manager of the store, reporting to Peter Baenninger, president, Davidoff of Geneva (CT) Inc. Under the new ownership, the store now operates as De la Concha America, Inc. The existing store staff remains, and the “overall strategy of excellent customer service will continue,” according to Baenninger. While there are two Davidoff shops in Manhattan — the flagship store on Madison Avenue and Davidoff Columbus Circle, located in the Time Warner Center — both owned by Davidoff of Geneva USA, there are no plans to convert De La Concha into a third Davidoff shop.

De La Concha has operated from the same mid-town Manhattan location for the past 40 years. It completed a major renovation and expansion in 1999, debuting its high-end “smoking emporium” configuration.


Club Macanudo Lounge Debuts within Miami’s Club Havana — Largest Cigar Club in Nation

Miami, FL — General Cigar has opened an elegant Club Macanudo lounge within the highly anticipated Havana Club at the Miami City Club.

Debuting to a parade of celebrities and luminaries, the Club’s grand opening, held on December 15, featured performances by Jon Secada and Arturo Sandoval and appearances by Kevin Costner, Denzel Washington, Armand Assanti, and Steven Segal, among others.

The Club Macanudo lounge is a luxurious, 2,500 sq. foot space outfitted with an array of amenities including leather couches and chaise lounges, elegant dining tables nestled between floor-to-ceiling windows, wide screen televisions, and a one-of-a-kind retractable glass wall that transforms the lounge into an intimate space for private entertaining.

“Not only is the lounge a luxurious embodiment of the Macanudo brand,” say Cooper Gardiner, vice president of marketing for General Cigar, “it also affords us an opportunity to share the Club Macanudo experience with cigar connoisseurs in South Florida.”

Robert Katz, president and managing partner of the Havana Club comments, “Club Macanudo’s reputation as the first name in luxurious enjoyment of cigars, the Havana Club will debut with unmatched credibility among cigar aficionados.”

The Havana Club at the Miami City Club is a prestigious members-only establishment located on the 55th floor of the Wachovia Financial Center. The 15,000-square-foot facility boasts a 360-degree view of Miami and surrounding waters. Membership is limited to 800 members who will enjoy a private humidor, 24-hour concierge service, unlimited access to the Club’s in-house conference room and business center, usage of the Club’s fleet of limousines, curbside valet parking, and VIP status with Asprey, the bespoke British luxury goods purveyor. Havana Club members will also enjoy membership to the Downtown Athletic Club as well as reciprocal memberships to more than 150 clubs worldwide, including Club Macanudo locations in New York, Washington D.C., London. and Jakarta.

Havana Club and General Cigar are currently discussing the possibility of developing a special La Gloria Cubana expression which would available exclusively at the Club.


BITS & PIECES

  • Dan Wolterson, owner of South Street Cigars and Spirits, Kalamazoo, Mi., and his business partner, Brad Roche, have purchased Nick’s Tavern and Grill and plan to build a cigar lounge on the second floor of the yet-to-be-named new business. The partners plan to keep the tavern and restaurant on the first floor. Wolterson said downtown residents and workers would be the new business’ main clientele.

  • Cigar Box, a full-service smoke shop, has opened in J.C. Penney wing of the Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., offering a large selection of premium cigars and a complete line of smoking accessories, including humidors, lighters, cigarette cases, tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The store also sells Pennsylvania Lottery tickets. Owned by Thomas Trella, Robert Veet, and Michael Barletta, Cigar Box has two other locations; in the Laurel Mall, Hazleton, Pa., and the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville, Pa.

  • The historic Little Stone House, East Davenport, Iowa, will reopen in the spring as a cigar shop with a walk-in humidor and a smoking room with Internet access and coffee, said Mike Gripp, one of the buildings’s new owners. Built “prior to 1867,” the building is one of only 11 stone buildings left in Davenport.

  • SMOKESHOP - December, 2006