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Would you believe that we have been in business for 45 years? Our mailing list when we started back in 1971 was kept on index cards in a box under the register, and now we have an entire database that’s had to be updated several times over the years, as it outgrew older versions of our software. And we still hear from a bunch of you who remember our early catalogs; Lew would literally cut and paste images from photographs onto sheets of paper that he’d then personally bring to a local print shop, which would run out a few hundred (then later a few thousand) copies.
Back then, most of the orders would come in on handwritten letters with checks enclosed. Once our call-center operations started, we’d get the occasional order form mailed in, but most people preferred the convenience of calling. Then along comes the internet, and now most of you are doing that whole point-and- click thing to quickly get your cigars delivered. And now we’re seeing mobile ordering starting to creep up on internet shopping.
But despite all these changes, the one thing that we have managed to keep consistent is providing you the best cigars for the best prices. It hasn’t always been easy with new smoking laws and minimum manufacturer pricing in addition to all of the other challenges any business faces. Our continued growth, though, lets us know that we must be doing it right.
This month, we are starting our 45th-year celebration with two exclusive 45th Anniversary cigars (page 15); one is produced by Altadis USA, and the other by Davidoff. Both of these cigars embody our desire to always put quality first. Be sure to get your order in early for these cigars, as they were both produced in limited quantities.
After a member of our product-merchant team came back from a recent trip to Cuba, he presented us with an interesting take on cigar pairings. Instead of pairing a cigar with a drink, he designed a full tasting experience with a cigar, a drink, and food (see page 12)—we think his insight will have you looking at your own cigar ritual in a whole new light! And if you start building your own combinations, share it with us on social media (#jrcigarpairingritual).