Not wishing to relocate from Toronto to Montreal, Joe Jr. and Les Albert had a decision to make.
In 1977, Joe Jr. and Leslie Albert founded ‘House Of Horvath, naming the company in honour of Joe Sr. – the “real” entrepreneur as Joe Jr. would say.
They set up shop in Toronto on Ossington Avenue (relatively close to the original factory), bought 6 cigar-making machines, hired back many of the production staff from both Ontario Tobacco Company and Macdonald-Ontario, and began anew.
Both founders knew they wanted something that would separate their company from the rest of the companies in the market. Their vision was to bring Canadians a cigar that was rare, unique and affordable. So, when it came time to launch their flagship brand, Bances, they decided to make it with Cuban tobacco. For about 35 years following the Cuban tobacco embargo, Canada was one of only two countries allowed to manufacture a Cuban cigar outside Cuba.
Fortunately, Joe Jr. had great relationships with several tobacco growers. He bought his Cuban tobacco from Heller Meerapfel (supplier of wrapper tobacco to Fuente and La Aurora) and obtained the rights for the name Bances from his friend Frank Llaneza (maker of U.S. Punch, Bolivar, Partagas and Hoya).
In buying quality seco Cuban tobacco from Meerapfel in 200lbs cartons for Bances, they first began making corona-sized cigars.