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    24 Replies Latest reply on Sep 2, 2011 1:06 PM by Jada1

    Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!

    snccigars Adventurer

      The business is not actually up and running at this time. However, the business will be a fine cigar and cigar accesories only retail store, no cigarettes or chewing tobacco. We have determined that there is a "quite demand" for fine cigars, a niche market with opportunity to grow. We may be starting backwards, but we are going start as online and telephone only to avoid the startup costs of brick & mortar. We will take orders through our website as well as by telephone, and will deliver by hand within a certain radius and for free with certain purchases. Outside of our delivery area we will deliver by either usps or ups. We are in a location that does not have a dedicated cigar retailer, only cigarette shops that sell some cigars. These stores offer neither the selection nor the expertice and appreciation that the valleys cigar smokers deserve. This idea has been in our heads for several months, and the feedback we have received has been very positive. We have questioned local business owners, including resorts, restaraunts and golf courses, all of whom have expressed interest in allowing advertising/marketing at their locations, as well as personal interest. We have our tax id and name registered with the state (mt) and are in the process of getting our tobacco license. We have determined a web site provider & merchant services provider and are in the process of getting that rolling. Our targeted customers to start will be local, middle age, middle & upper class males, and tourists in season. Eventually, of course, we would like to expand this to include non-local customers, and introduce new demographics to the world of fine cigars. Our marketing plan will take advantage of social networking sites such as twitter & facebook, local advertising and heavy word-of-mouth and business networking with an emphasis on the difference between "smoking" and enjoying a fine, imported, hand-made cigar. Some of my concerns are how taxes work and making sure we dont break any laws.We do not have an accountant or attorney, and would like to avoid getting them if at all possible as all startup money is going into equipment, inventory and advertising. Any help or advice in these two areas would be greatly appreciated, as well general feedback on the idea. And yes, I am in the process of contacting my local SCORE branch for advise! Thanks
        • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
          drivetraffic Adventurer
          I like this idea. I do think that starting online will keep your overhead costs down. At a minimum, I would hope you have an LLC to cover your personal liability, if you don't get an attorney. There are several online companies that can do this for you. You can get it done yourself quite easily also. You may also want to invest in a good accountant if nothing else, because there are laws they know that are useful. You can get a certain level of tax advice from your state's sales tax office. They should at least have the knowledge of what taxes you should be collecting.

          The most important part of a businesses success is sales and marketing. We offer an ebook course to help small businesses market online regardless of their budget, so conventional ways you may know of an I'm sure some you don't. You can check it out at http://www.drivetrafficforless.com

          To Your Business Success!
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
            snccigars Adventurer
            Thank you for your advice. We are actually going with an llc, and are in the process of getting that paperwork filed right now. Our state (mt) does not actually have sales tax, and that was one of my concerns as far as taxes. Do we have to charge sales tax to customers out of state? As far as an accountant, do you have any idea how much it costs to have someone make sure you "start on the right foot," so to speak, to make make sure we cover our bases when starting up?
            • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
              snccigars Adventurer
              Sorry, not looking for a partner right now, thanks for the offer though!
              • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                snccigars Adventurer
                So what do you guys think, is this a business that can make it? Does anyone know how the cigar business in your local area is doing. Any feedback woudl be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
                • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                  g2techgroup Wayfarer
                  My advice is check out the Cigar Aficionado magazine/website and see if you can establish some sort of partnership with them.That will provide great tips and advice if you haven't already checked it out.
                  My other advice is see about having the resorts, restaurants and golf courses display a small box of your cigars at cost that way they understand you are providing added value for them and you get free advertising. Or at the golf course do a contest, whoever gets the best round of each group gets a coupon/discount for a box of your cigars. Hope that helps.
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                      snccigars Adventurer
                      Thank you all for your advice. g2tech, your marketing ideas are very good, thank you. We have considered having a small display humidor located at the golf courses and resorts with business cards to draw those customers to our website. Cigar aficianado is expensive, however, that is of course one of our goals, is to have them as part or our marketing/advertising network. We do have several celebrities that have vacation homes here, as well as several championship level golf courses, we are planning on heavily marketing to these crowds.
                    • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                      daly43 Newbie
                      From my own experience I can say that the money you spend on a consultation with an accountant will be the best money you ever spend on your business, and will actually end up saving you more money in your first year than you spend on the accountant. Many accountants will do an initial short consultation for free and at that time you can ask them what they think you need and how much it will cost. My guess is that it will be less than $500.

                      I have an article here http://www.homebusinesswiz.com/2007/03/lawyer-accountant-candlestick-maker-does-your-small-business-really-need-them.html
                      that addresses this issue in more detail.

                      Hope this helps!

                      Daly43
                      http://www.homebusinesswiz.com
                      • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                        snccigars Adventurer
                        Just an update...We have officially received our state tobacco license! We are now looking at business cards, then a website. Obviously we are constantly building capital to build inventory. Along those lines, we have determined that we will open with an offering of roughly 100 different kinds (sizes, styles) of cigars representing about 20 different brands. We are looking to start selling by 01/01/10. I am still interested in any feedback you guys have, whether business related or cigar related. I would be more than happy to answer any general cigar questions for those interested in fine, handmade, imported cigars! Also always willing to take advice or constructive criticism. Thanks guys.
                        • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                          snccigars Adventurer
                          So does anyone in here actually smoke cigars? I would love to discuss anything cigar related! Any questions concerning cigars, brands, getting started, how to smoke/cut/light a cigar I would be more than happy to answer. Cigar smoking is back on the rise after its crash in the late 90's, its a great time to get into it, start a classy tradition that you can share with friends for many years!
                            • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                              DomainDiva Ranger
                              My accountant always brings two cigars when he comes to the house so he and hubby can go outside and smoke. Are you planning on having a smoking room with those private humidors as well, where collectors can store their cigars?

                              I don't smoke anything anymore but I always bring DH a box of cigars when I go to South America or other countries known for fine cigars.
                                • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                  snccigars Adventurer

                                  Thanks for the response, DomainDiva! Glad to hear people out are enjoying fine cigars. To answer your question. I would like eventually to have a smoking lounge with cigar lockers for members to store their own smokes, but those cost a lot of money, so it is at around year 4 on our goals list. We also like the idea of having a rooftop smoking patio. We have beautiful mountain views here, and it would be very enjoyable to get above everything on a nice summer day and chill on the roof with your favorite cigar and a cup of coffee or iced tea! If you would like any cigar advice for your friends or family, feel free to ask. I am pretty good at making recommendations based on other interests, so you let me know a few things about somebody, and I will give you a recommended type of cigar and name some suggested brands. Thanks again for you response, have a great day!
                                    • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                      DomainDiva Ranger
                                      WOW. The idea of a rooftop smoking lounge is incredible!!! You are where???? Just an idea....maybe you could avertise a one of a kind outdoor lounge in a cigar magazine or on a cigar afficiando webiste.
                                        • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                          snccigars Adventurer
                                          We are located in Montana, on the way to Glacier National Park. Tourism is a driver behind most local businesses, and our cigars would be no different. Our local tourism industry does several high-end magazines aimed at promoting local businesses, and we have plans to advertise heavily in those, as our business will be aimed at a higher-income demographic. I truly believe that promoting a rooftop smoking lounge would bring in large amounts of business, both local and non-local. We are listed with Cigar Aficianado as a retailer in our area (I believe we are the only one listed in the state of Montana!), but at this point we have not started a marketing campaign. However, Cigar Aficianado is the cream of the advertising crop in the cigar industry, there is nothing better for promoting your cigar business. Keep you eyes open for SNC Cigars, I believe when we get operational, we will be huge! Our goal & strategy plan calls for being one of the top cigar retailers in the COUNTRY within 5 years! We love cigars and love being around others who love cigars. Thanks for your encouregment and advice, it is much appreciated!
                                    • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                      Mayfair Newbie
                                      My husband likes cigars but I have to admit I wish he didn't> Saw a terrible Dr. Oz last week that I can't get out of my mind. Anyway he claims that the best cigar he ever had was made on the spot at a boating party in Austin. I remember the invatation said "boutique" cigars. I imagine the cigar maker asked him some questions but I wasn't present. Based on this very sketchy info is there a cigar you would recommend. Our local liquer chain (Spec's Houston,TX) have large walk in humidors and seem to have a big selection.
                                        • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                          snccigars Adventurer
                                          I would really need to know a little more info to make a good recommendation. However, the basis of making a good recommendation starts with knowing that there are 3 basic types of cigars - mild, medium and strong, or full. Every cigar falls in one of these three categories, and what type people like can often be deduced by knowing how often they smoke, what they like to eat & drink, career, etc. From there we can get into more specifics to narrow down what style of cigar they would like: peppery, woody, changing tastes on the palate or a cigar that will give the same flavor throughout, etc. Mind I am not talking about "flavored" cigars, but the taste the cigar will give the smoker. Some examples of each kind would be: Mild - many of the classics are considered mild cigars: Montecristo, Macanudo, La Aurora, Fuente & Avo. These are nearly always lighter in color and made with a Connecticut leaf wrapper, the mildest and smoothest of cigar wrappers. The medium-bodied cigars are usually a little harder to classify, since the are really a bridge between mild and strong, some will find a medium body to strong or not strong enough. However, some good medium-bodied cigars are: Perdomo Champagne, Carlos Torano Exodus, Rocky Patel Vintage Series, Romeo y Julieta & Cohiba. There are many others, medium bodied cigars contain the largest selection out there. Strong, or full bodied cigars often the most flavorful, will have changing tastes and are not for the light headed or new smoker. These include: Camacho, CAO Brazilia, Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic (not a real cuban cigar, just part of the name!), Gran Habano & Perdomo Habano. Hope this helps next time you are picking out a fine cigar for your husband! As for the health risks of cigars, I dont have room here to really discuss it, I will simply suggest doing a little more research before worrying to much about your husbands hobby.
                                      • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                        malena Adventurer

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                                        • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                          BigTex75 Newbie
                                          Hello, Read your thread and wanted to ask and see how everything is coming along? Has it been a success or is it still in the works?
                                          • Re: Opening a Cigar Store...any ideas!
                                            Jada1 Newbie

                                            Hi

                                             

                                            I am in the middle of opening a Cigar Shop do you have any ideas for me. How much upfront capital do i need?

                                             

                                             

                                            Thanks,

                                            Jad