Written by Staff

Friday, 10 October 2008

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Louis Bozzolo, owner of Mane Street Cigars, is able to hang on his business despite the hard economic times.

"People are trying to save a few bucks. Times are tough," he said. "We are hangin' in there, that's all I could say. Well, we're actually doing good, considering."

Bozzolo, who was raised in a middle-class family, joined Wall Street at an early age.

"I attended college for two years... My dad said to me, 'If you're not going to school, your gettin' a job,' " Bozzolo said, adding that his father led him to a Wall Street firm where he became a runner for two weeks.

But Bozzolo was "very ambitious." He became a clerk - and one job led to another before he became a floor stockbroker.

"I actually had my own little business and had to take a pay cut to be a stock broker. But I knew where it would lead," Bozzolo said.

Bozzolo moved from New York to New Jersey in the 1990s. He settled in Old Bridge and worked for John David Cigar, a store at Menlo Park Mall in Edison.

After John David Cigar closed its doors, Bozzolo said, he was about to give up the idea of working in the cigar business, untill two of his friends who used to hang out at John David told him about a place in Woodbridge.

Bozzolo was able to acquire the spot at a "cheap price."

Near the Woodbridge Township Municipal Courthouse, Mane Street Cigar draws a wide range of customers.

"My customers are varied, your everyday workers," he said.

Lawyer James Durek of Colonia is one of Mane Street Cigar's regular customer.

"This is a nice place. You get a bunch of nice guys that come in here. You get a bunch of people from a very diverse background and we all have in common the enjoyment of nice little cigars. It's a great place to come to," Durek said.

As an experienced former floor stockbroker and owner of a successful business, Bozzolo has learned to understand the economy and the market.

"Let's face it, are cigars considered a luxury?" he asked. "In some ways, yes. I have customers who buy better quality cigars, but now buy cheaper ones. Well that's everything in life."

Check out Mane St Cigars Website for address, hours and other info.

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