A few weeks ago, an old lady strolled into a Downtown Cigar store in Havana straight up to the owner of the cigar store. She said that she has turned 80 years old and it is her birthday and added that she all the time wanted a cigar. The owner of the downtown cigar shop, Lee Scheel, helped her out to choose her first cigar. Scheel says that they are always ready to help customers whether they are a cigar buff or a novice. Havana’s Downtown Cigars kicked off only a few weeks ago. It is the only store in downtown Gainesville that only sells cigars. It offers a whole range of cigars from full-bodied flavors to flavors like vanilla mocha. Scheel says that cigars are similar to wines. There are a lot of different flavors available. Lee and his brother, Billy purchased the only remaining space vacant beneath the Hampton Inn.
Billy Scheel, who is a part owner of businesses like, Lillian’s and Harry’s, said that the cigar shop indeed improves downtown. He adds that he ensures that any venture that he has a contribution in bringing to the city’s center actually complements and does not contest with other businesses. Billy and his brother understood the requirements of the bar and restaurant and believed that a cigar store would be the ideal enhancement for an evening downtown. In addition Lee said that he made sure to sell cigars only. The two brother had the thought to open the store just a year ago. They neither knew whether there existed a demand for cigars or not. Therefore, they waited. In the meantime, another shop purchased the place they were considering and delayed to learn the business of selling fine cigars. The brothers moved about the state searching for the correct combination of things to make sure the best product was brought to Gainesville.
Lee said that they traveled to see what others were offering and how they were operating. He added that they tried to discover what worked and what did not. Scheel ensured that he tied up with a number of best cigar brands like General Cigar Company, J.C. Newman Cigar Company and Altadis U.S.A. prior to even purchasing the cigar shop. At present, the cigar store has in excess of 150 varieties of cigars available. The store does not play loud music or serve alcohol. It has a small seating space, having capacity for not more than 15 persons at one time. There is a humidor that retains the tobacco at a steady humidity to assure flavor. He says that it is a kind of place where we encourage our customers to ask questions. Lee says that they have all kind of customers, from college students to experienced cigar smokers. He adds that it is more of a learning experience than anything. Apart from the Scheel brothers, the only other individual who works in the store is a student from the University of Florida who is learning the business in order to cultivate his own tobacco in the future.
Lee said that both he and his brother smoke cigars. Cigar culture is very rooted in him as he rides a Harley Davidson and plays golf. Though there are many online cigars shop and one can buy cigars online, Lee says that the ambience his store provides cannot be matched with any other cigar store in downtown.