After 30+ years in cigars, I’ve come to realize my business is all about relationships. Mine with my staff, my staff with my customers, reps with my store, and sometimes mine with the manufacturer.
Our recent cigar dinner event, a series I call “Meet the Maker”, was far more than just a meal, and some smokes…it was an event about relationships.
Tuesday, June 22nd marked the arrival of Litto Gomez of La Flor Dominicana cigars to our humble burg in Upstate New York, the fine city of Syracuse. My store, Rocky’s has been planning this particular event for about eight or nine months, along with LFD VP John Carney. We were looking forward with great anticipation to the quiet man in the signature white hat’s arrival. What we received far exceeded our wildest expectations.
Not only did we have a full house of 65 cigar smokers a restaurant that was ready and waiting to serve us with excellent food and unbelievable ambience, Litto himself was simply amazing. Around 3pm Litto arrived sitting in our cigar lounge with a few customers seated with us, simply stating his viewpoints on cigars, his business views, and the journey he’s been on. Quite simply is journey as of one of a man who entered the cigar as a business, then soon was consumed by it until it became as passion. Today he lives a life where every day he seeks to create cigars for those people who wish to share and create wonderful moments while smoking cigars.
Litto’s viewpoint on cigars was very straight forward. He told us “I simply don’t want to screw up any of those moments.” That is to say, he doesn’t want to make a bad cigar and have someone not enjoy the cigar and the moment it had a chance to create.
What I found most interesting about this perspective is that as a retailer it explains some of the issues that I may have with La Flor Dominicana from time to time. Back orders, and out of stocks are a couple of come to mind.
But when Litto looked at us, describing his happiness over having the number one cigar of 2016, the Andalusian Bull, he also added that the demand for the cigar forced him to tell his office and factory there would be no Andalusian Bulls until they were ready to be sold, no matter how great the demand. Every cigar must go out to the exacting quality he originally planned.
Litto’s desire to sell only cigars of the highest of quality clarified to me in that moment why every now and then I can’t get my Chisels and I can’t get my DL 700 Maduros. But the problem isn’t always the planning or the production or the failure to deliver. Sometimes the problem is Litto simply doesn’t want to sell the cigar before it’s as good as he wants it to be. That’s what I mean when I say Litto is awesome. In my years of selling cigars I’ve seen many who didn’t follow this belief; most are just a memory now, long gone by the wayside. LFD has been growing and raising their stature in this business for over 20 years, and after enjoying the company of the man at the top, I now know why!
Not only did he entertain us, and inform us, he simply inspired us when it comes to the making of cigars. He is a man committed to his relationship to the cigar smoker.
Hats off to Litto…. thanks for the visit, and I look forward to seeing you again, my friend.