I like BamBam's list, but for this type of store, I think he'd have to carry some Macanudos too.
I don't care for Macanudos, but any store in my area that doesn't deal strictly with tobacco seems to carry them as one of their staples. Most seem to also carry Ashton, but that might be associated with my close proximety to Philly...not sure.
I would stick with the big names and mild to medium sticks. Padron may be a stretch, but the X000 series could stay in a good price range.
"I would stick with the big names and mild to medium sticks. Padron may be a stretch, but the X000 series could stay in a good price range."
I have to agree, the Padrons are top of the line. My local B&M only sell the Exclusivo and the rest are the x000's series. The owner of the B&M does care for the Padron due to the turn around and the prices, (but how doesn't love Padron?)
I would recommend getting a small sampling of as many varieties as possible...see what sells, and go from there.
I just yesterday saw a guy buying a handful of Series V at a supermarket. If you stock premiums, word will get out and people will come to the shop.
There are so many fabulous shop brands that are $1 and $2 sticks. Lots more that are $5.00 sticks.
I agree with the Fuente lineup. Their house "Tampa Sweethearts" are wonderful.
A cigarette store isn't, by design, set to cater to us needy cigar smokers. We want rapport. A cigarette store can't deliver that. Too busy to even try.
Backwoods, Swisher Sweets, and a couple boxes of Fuente "Itsaboy/Itsagirl" cigars would be great. Some flavored smokes would be awesome, too.
Guys rag constantly on the flavored smokes here, but I'm here to tell you that CAO Flavours are damn fun smokes. I very much enjoy one on occasion, and I can't count how many friends have enjoyed one, it being their very first try at a "real cigar" because they were scared of any other cigar based on their bad experience with cigars in the past. And they're cheap.
Good luck to your friend!!! :tu
You know what I just thought about?
Along the way I saw some "Start your own cigar business" info at ebay. The write up suggested hauling around display humi's and setting them up at bars and stores so folks can get exposed to lots of different smokes. A little notebook allowed bartenders to scratch suggestions for you when you came back to fill it.
A little display humi with 40 or 50 premiums, properly kept, would be awesome.
Margin would be crap, but it'd bring guys in the door, and everyone needs a gatorade, pop, or a gallon of milk, ya know?
There is a cigarette store in the town were I work, and it has a small corner walk-in Humi. I think the big sellers at the store are Acid cigars. Yes yes, most people do not like those, but think about it, the people who would buy cigars at the cigarette store are not looking for Padron's or AF's, they are looking for something that catches there eye (and in the case of Acids, their nose). I would highly recommend that your friend purchase some boxes of Acids onlines and give them a try. Seems like the best "business" decision to me.
Macanudos would be a solid choice as they are fairly mild and very well known.
Drew Estate, CAO, or similar flavored cigars, whatever is cheaper, would also likely do very well in a cigarette shop, especially amongst younger smokers. I'd throw in one of their inexpensive natural lines as well since you are already purchasing from them.
Phillies and their ilk would seem to be requisite.
Arturo Fuente makes some very reasonably priced sticks and have the brand recognition needed in such a setting for those who care for a more mainstream cigar or something that may be viewed as a bit more upscale.
I don't know how difficult it is to buy any of these sticks as a cigarette shop but I would think they would all sell fairly well. I also suspect that they could (and should) be priced above what a dedicated cigar retailer would sell them for as the customers would likely purchase them as a convenience or novelty and would not be comparing a cigarette shops prices to those of a cigar retailer.
Lots of good stuff here. First off, depending on location, have him stock up on cigarettes and dip, that stuff tends to be a steady seller IMO.
Along the same line, Swishers/Al Capones/Primetimes/Pom Poms are all things that guys who don't know any better will pick up. If they realize they don't know anything, they'll turn to more traditional smokes. Therefore, Backwoods will fill the transitional niche nicely - they're a good smoke for someone starting out, and the way they look is attractive to the guy who knows little about cigars, but wants to look like he's smoking one.
From there, go a step up:
David's Choice (excellent bundle cigar, though for the life of me, I don't know where you'd get them)
Arome de San Andreas
Any of the factory seconds, bundles, house brands that the bigger retailers sell.
From there, a few recognizable names. Things like RyJ, LGC, Montecristo are good, for two reasons
1. They may be names heard in the movies, and therefore are recognizable
2. They may be recognized as Cuban names, so the guys purchasing them will feel special.
A few premiums, Padron 1000/2000, CAO, Fuente, LFD etc - if the guys coming by like cigars, they may google it, come across a few big names, so a few on hand will be good.
In addition, I think that a hookah looks sharp in a shop. Customers may recognize it, and want to try it, ask questions about it. Weird stuff like this builds rapport, it'll help the store get regulars.
A line of accessories, a few Xikars for the guys who get into it, otherwise, some cheap plastic (those 7.00 ones work nicely) cutters.
A couple humidors, as well, have a catalogue of stuff that you can get online. Tell them that you would be happy to special order them a humidor.
That goes for many things, special orders from online retailers will ensure that this shop can get anything for its customers, without maintaining an expensive and excessive stock.
A couple events, maybe once a month, have a "free cigar with purchase" night or something, do some tobacco tasting, introduce them to pipes, give out cobs and a bowl of tobacco to get them interested in something else, have them bring their buddies, whatever.
(My local shop had a barn burning a week or so ago, I didn't attend, but it drew a crowd)
Best of luck to your friend, and I hope all the info helps.