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Written by Puff Staff

Sunday, 06 July 2008

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Tampa, Florida. Home of the Buccaneers, Rays and home also to the JC Newman Cigar Co. This was my first visit to the J. C. Newman Cigar Co. I was a little shocked to see that their offices and warehouse take up half a block and their parking lot takes up the other half. The building is a vintage three story brick factory building that has been well maintained and restored by the Newman family. The building now houses limited cigar manufacturing, the corporate offices and distribution for the Fuente and Diamond Crown cigars and accessories. JC Newman is a cigar industry institution having been in business for 113 years. Founded by the company’s namesake, JC Newman, second generation Stanford Newman continued as the patriarch until his death two years ago. Eric and Bobby represent the third generation of Newmans to run the company. It is interesting to note that less than 5% of family businesses, regardless of the industry, continue into the third generation. The Newmans must be doing something right but change is always difficult. Eric and Bobby have worked in the family business all their lives, but it was their father, Sanford, that was usually in the public eye. Now they have the difficult task of continuing his legacy while they create their own. Eldest son Eric Newman is at the helm supported by brother Bobby. Who is Eric Newman? What are his goals for the JC Newman Company? These days, Eric is busy not only with his own business, but with the concerns of the entire premium cigar industry. While president of the Cigar Association of America, he has spent a lot of time in Washington DC working with CAA executive director, Norm Sharp battling the anti-smoking fanatics. When I entered the offices, I was greeted by Marketing Director Shanda Lee. After a brief tour of the offices Shanda led me to Bobby Newman’s office where I met Bobby and later Eric. Bobby’s office looked like that of any busy, hands on, business owner. His desk and tables were filled with folders and notes from current and pending projects. He seated me at a table in the middle of his office and offered me a sun grown Cuesta Rey cigar. He re-lit a cigar that he had been working on and slowly paced about the room as he answered my questions and asked his own. We were then joined by older brother Eric who began an impromptu dissertation about how the current anti-smoking legislation threatens the entire cigar industry not to speak of the Newman’s 113 year old company. He is passionate about his company, his cigars and the cigar industry. Bravo. The visit was short, but very cordial. The Newmans were very generous with their time. As interested as I was about their company, it was the Newman brothers that stood out in my mind. They are the third generation of what appears to be a very successful business. Many in their position might be sitting back on their laurels and enjoying the benefits from their predecessors. But instead they seem intent on moving their company and the cigar industry forward. That includes contemplating how to get the fourth generation Newmans involved as they navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing business environment. We look forward to interviewing Eric Newman and learning more about one of the oldest companies in the US cigar industry. J.C. Newman Cigar Co. 2701 N. 16th St. Tampa, FL 33605-2616 Ph 800 477-1884 Fax 813 247-2135 www.cigarfamily.com Rob Shibata - Top25Cigar



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