The Tobacco Merchant in Columbia was the 7th account he signed up. Now he's got around 170! He's close to his self imposed maximum too. He has 15 employees in Nicaragua and he does not plan to do much expansion. His cigar making process started over 3 years ago. He buys his tobacco from the Oliva family so right away you know he's got a good source. He strives to make perfect cigars. He has a draw tester that he uses on each and every cigar made. (BTW, the only place that makes these draw testers is in South Carolina! I didn't realize that until he told us.)
He has 2 types of cigars right now; natural and maduro. The two cigars share none of the same tobacco! That's pretty cool! I had both, and I'm a maduro lover, but the natural was GREAT!!!! His cigars are all about the same price, from robusto to churhill; $6.50-$6.80 +/-. If you see these in your local shop give them a try! Since there is no middle man, he works hard to keep the price of his cigars as low as possible! He will be introducing a new cigar in late August caled the Paragon. It is suppose to be much fuller bodied than his initial entrys while remaining very smooth.
He plans to keep the SC and NC accounts and let his salesmen work the other states. He also said he'd love to attend the next SC Sit Down on October 14th! That's very cool! He'll bring some cigars for us to try!
I also got to meet Alan Holley at the event! "Holley" as he goes by on the cigar boards, is a new RNB member and a work aquaitance of mine. His company, O.L. Holley and Sons has been buying forklifts from Southland Equipment for many years. Since the other Southland Equipment salesman works the territory that Alan's company is in, I have never met him before. The Pontillo event made a great way for Holley and I to finally meet. He's a very nice guy and we hung out at the shop until about 7:30 or so!
Here's part of the gang;
L-R: Holley, Tiny Tim, Robosmokes, Mark
Tiny Tim and A. J. Pontillo