At The Smokin’ Cigar, the store shelves typically have in excess of 800 different kinds of cigars, most of which have been curated by owner Trae Zammit.
Despite such a myriad of selection, his Smokin’ Nicaraguan and Dominican House Blends are among the customer favorites, which of course cannot be found anywhere else.
Like Zammit, many tobacconists have carefully sought out their own unique house blends, many of which can rival – or at times downright outperform – plenty of the big mass marketed releases – and at a fraction of the cost to boot.
Certain house blend cigars can truly be a hidden gem
With a hand picked selection of cigar brands and accessories, knowledge and careful curation play a big role in keeping customers coming back to explore and experience that personal touch.
2. Creating A Unique Experience
Thriving in today’s competitive cigar market often requires going beyond merely selling cigars; it involves creating unique experiences for those who come to see your establishment as their cigar headquarters. What’s more, having thought out complimentary décor and amenities to the physical surroundings also adds a great deal of perceived value to a cigar buying experience.
Zammit’s 6000-square foot store is meticulously decorated floor to ceiling with all manner of iconography, and of course – a sea of products to choose from.
Such attention to detail can really make a particular store stand out from other buying options, and from other average-looking tobacco retail locations.
In addition to this, local cigar-related events are making a triumphant return as a result of the ease of Covid-related restrictions and a return to public gatherings.
These fun and informative experiences are generally orchestrated by – you guessed it – local tobacconists.
“We have nine events planned so far for the remainder of the calendar year. Our annual customer appreciation event is looking like it will draw over three hundred people – which means I might have to extend it over a two day period this year” says Zammit.
These events, which were largely put on pause during Covid-19, occur on a by-invite-only basis extended out to his regular customers.
Such events are typically a great opportunity to rub elbows with like-minded Lovers Of The Leaf.
This in turn can quickly snowball (big Canadian pun right there) into attendees developing a circle of local cigar friends, growing their cigar knowledge, expanding their palate, and quite simply enriching their appreciation of cigars in general – all thanks to the ingenuity of a local tobacconist.
3. Customer Service
Above all, direct, in-person customer service is what truly seems to give great tobacconists the big leg up on not only the more impersonal shopping options out there, but also other retail competition.
While products are consumed, it is services that are experienced – and great tobacconist locations are built on the backbone of hospitality and experience.
Since he’s added a monthly mail-out subscription service called Quarter Century Club (to commemorate his 25 years of existence) which requires having a shipper on hand, Zammit bumped up his staff to ensure that there are always 2 or 3 people available to effectively serve his in-store traffic.
Zammit and his on hand staff ready to serve
Great tobacconists have the ability to make customers feel at home and let them know that they’re happy to have them.
This results in building a collective of faithful customers who ultimately become a tobacconist’s biggest promoters.
Despite the many different ways for a cigar enthusiast to purchase cigars and stock their humidor, many Canadians still prefer the time-honored experience of visiting their local tobacconist.
For most enthusiasts, smoking a cigar is a celebrated and ceremonial experience that requires an equally special experience when it comes to obtaining such fine items in the first place.
This is what a great tobacconist provides, and is what has kept customers opting for that personal touch and a sense of community, all centered around a common love for cigars.
Together, the processes of providing superior knowledge, curation and customer service are the pillars that make for a great tobacconist – which keeps ’em coming back for more.