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Do you want to make your cigar hobby profitable? Are you looking for a source of income in semi-retirement? Do you know lots about cigars but not much about the cigar business? Would you like to find out about being a cigar shop owner while avoiding lots of the pain in acquiring the knowledge?

This book will save you countless hours of frustrating research, days upon days of time spent making calls, and likely some hard cash to boot. Experience may be the best teacher but it’s also the most difficult and painful. By using this book, you will benefit from the pains incurred by one who did this the hard way: from scratch, never having had a retail establishment, much less a cigar shop.

Starting or buying a cigar shop is not for the faint of heart but there are many reasons for doing so. Having a love for cigars is a good starting point. Being tenacious and well financed are also necessary attributes for the owner. In these times, you will not likely be the cheapest way for your customers to buy. Online Internet sales companies drastically lower prices below that of the normal cigar shop entrepreneur. If it’s a commonplace cigar, margins of 25 to 33 percent are not uncommon for these discounters and that is not enough to make a go of it for a retail, bricks and mortar, establishment. The normal margins are 50 percent (called “keystone”). Even at that level, you will have a challenge after rents, utilities, licenses, taxes, computers and employees are deducted. Location is so critically important that we have devoted an entire section to it. Lots of the things to do to open a shop involve having an address in hand.

There are those customers who have allegiance to the small guys. It can be a personal sort of thing in wanting your local entrepreneur to succeed, having a place to try out different cigars bought one at a time, and getting expert advice. Some simply want a place to smoke inside out of the heat and cold, finding good conversation. The proprietor may have a psychologist, friend, bartender, barber or hairdresser sort of relationship with his or her customers. You can get to be friends with your clients and know them pretty well. That is a good thing. If the small shop owner can handle the necessary roles is often what determines success.

I’m going to start you at the beginning from “I have a dream” and go to opening your first day and beyond with every issue I know and at least one way to resolve it, most from very personal experience. Let’s begin and think creatively.

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