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Written by Puff Staff

Thursday, 10 July 2008

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Rob Shibata of Top25Cigar visits Cigar King. What is located at 8016 Lincoln Ave. in Skokie, IL? We’ll if you’re a cigar smoker in the Chicago land area then you already know. But if you’re from outside the Windy City, then we’ll tell you: Cigar King. Located squarely in the middle of the upscale community of Skokie, IL, Cigar King has been part of the landscape here for two generations since they were established in 1960 by Charles Hirsch. The company actually started out as a variety store that carried cigars and evolved into a full service tobacconist around 1990. In 2004, the second generation Hirsch brothers, Jordan and Mitch, decided to split the business into two entities both bearing the same name. The result was the original store in Skokie being run by Jordan while Mitch set up a store and Cigar King Internet site in Phoenix. I visited the Skokie store on a sunny Monday afternoon. Cigar King is a definitely cigar smoker’s cigar store. First of all, it is huge covering about 4,500 sq ft. in downtown Skokie. In addition to the usual wall humidor units seen in most tobacconists, there is a large walk in humidor sporting all the latest brands of the most popular cigars. But Cigar King is much more than a premium tobacconist. It is a complete men’s gift store. If you want to get a gift for a guy, this is the place to check out. They carry value priced and high end cigar accessories such as Prometheus humidors and ST DuPont lighters. But wait, there’s more. They also carry a full line of Swiss watches (such as Lycene) and pens (such as Mont Blanc). More good news. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable but not intrusive. I asked store manager Reginald Smith what the best selling cigars were and he didn’t hesitate to rattle off their four or five of their top sellers. When I was there, owner Jordan Hirsh was out on the floor talking to customers, working sales at the counter, and in the humidor making recommendations to those who need help. While there, Jordan suggested I try the Nub from Oliva and the new Camacho limited edition. Both turned out to be good recommendations. When asked about how business is going with the new anti-smoking laws in Illinois, Jordan replies “business is good, we’re experiencing some growth.” Jordan paused for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. “The new anti-smoking laws in Illinois say that a cigar store has to be in a stand alone building. Of course whoever already has store is grandfathered in, but it will be almost impossible for someone new to come into the business because the cost would be prohibitive”. The good news is that there will be little new competition for Jordan. The bad news is that the anti-smoking fanatics have eliminated all indoor smoking venues (except for cigar stores) and all but eliminated the chance for new ones to start. “You should have seen us this winter.” quipped Jordan. “I remember one day when it was snowing hard, I mean four wheel drives only kind of snowing. The store was packed in the middle of the day. People just don’t have any where to go smoke when the weather is bad.” The front of the store has a pool table and a card table and in the back are the humidors along with three big screen TV’s and about a dozen arm chairs. If you ever visit the greater Chicago area and have a few hours to kill, head to Skokie and visit Cigar King. You won’t regret it. It’s a great place to find a nice assortment of men’s accessories, the latest cigars, and most of all, a nice place to relax while you enjoy a good smoke. Rob Shibata For Top25Cigars.com



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