Schomberg, Ontario’s The Big Smoke Cigar Company Inc. is a “mom-and-pop cigar shop” run by Roman Guglielmi and his wife Dawna, both of whom are presently enjoying life in the cigar business as retired Ontario police officers.
The northern Ontario brick-and-mortar location features not one, but two solid cedar walk in humidors, each displaying a substantial selection of cigars to draw from.
At almost 20 years in the business now, they have seen many changes to the industry, and continue to happily serve their King Township customers (and beyond) with a smile, and big, burning passion for cigars (pun very much intended).
Recently, we caught up with Roman and talked about his all-time favorite cigar, Italian grappa, and his newly-renovated Schomberg, Ontario location.
House of Horvath: Roman, what region of Ontario do you serve, and how far do people come to shop at your location?
Roman: The Big Smoke Cigar Company Incorporated is located in the Brownsville Junction Plaza in Schomberg, Ontario. We are in the Township of King, and draw customers from about a 50 KM radius, with some even coming as far away as Shelbourne and Owen Sound.
We also have customers who we ship to from all over Ontario.
HOH: When did The Big Smoke first open its doors, and what led you to becoming becoming a tobacconist?
Roman: We first stared in Kleinburg, Ontario in 2005 as a small sole proprietorship before moving to Schomberg.
My wife operated a Gallery and Frame shop in Kleinburg, and I would often sit outside the café near her shop with a cigar. At the time, Kleinburg didn’t even have a place to buy a pack of cigarettes, a loaf of bread, or a quart of milk.
As people passed by, many would ask me where they could get a cigar. So I opened a small cigar shop inside my wife’s shop.
HOH: Let’s step into the humidor. What’s your most popular Cuban cigar these days? What’s your most popular non-Cuban?
Roman: Our most popular Cuban cigars are Romeo Y Julieta and Montecristo. Our most popular non-Cubans would be the entire Alec Bradley line.
HOH: Are you associated with any cigar events?
Roman: I don’t have cigar events since we’re a mom and pop store. To be honest, I don’t have the time to organize them.
I did hold a Shotguns and Cigars sporting clays event, and I support Clays for Cancer, which is a sporting clay shooting event to raise money for Kids with Cancer.
I haven’t done cigar dinners yet, but I’m considering them.
HOH: What’s your personal favorite drink to enjoy alongside a cigar?
Roman: Probably unconventional in the cigar world, I like to have premium grappa with my cigar. I import it from Italy.
HOH: Rapid-Fire question time! Tell me the first thing that pops into your mind…
Maduro or Connecticut? Connecticut.
Fuente or Padron? Fuente.
Straight Cut or V-cut? Straight cut.
Dominican or Nicaraguan? Dominican.
Churchill or Toro? Toro.
Butane lighter or wood match? Butane lighter
Humidity pack or distilled water? Distilled water
Bourbon or single malt? Neither.
Cigars on a golf course, or cigars in a lounge? Lounge.
Enjoying a cigar solo, or with a group of people? With a friend.
HOH: What’s your most popular cigar at around $25 CAD? Around $15 CAD?
Roman: Around 25 dollars would be the Romeo y Julieta Tubos. In the under 15 dollar range would be the H&H Tobacconist Blend.
HOH: What’s the most enjoyable cigar you’ve ever had?
Roman: The most enjoyable cigar I have ever had was a Cohiba Siglo 6, which I smoked about 20 years ago. Haven’t had one as good since.
It is followed by the LFD Salomon Unico.
HOH: What advice would you give for someone who is just discovering cigars for the first time?
Roman: Start light with a Dominican Connecticut cigar and work your way up in strength ’till you find your balance.
Don’t by expensive cigars right off the bat – but don’t buy bargain basement either. A light $10 – $20 cigar is a good place to start.
HOH: What cigar do you wish was still for sale, but is no longer available?
Roman: L’Atiler by Pete Johnson.
HOH: What can you tell me about The Big Smoke Cigar Co. Inc. that most people don’t know?
Roman: My wife and I are both former police officers enjoying this business in our early retirement!
The Big Smoke Cigar Company Inc. is located at Brownsville Junction Plaza 17250 Highway 27 in the town of Schomberg, Ontario L0G 1T0. They can be reached at 905 939 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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