Cigar Arts is an upstart inside Boomers on Bishop, the business incubator that opened a month ago at 504 N. Bishop.
The shop specializes in “micro-blended, artisinal cigars.”
Business partners Russ Hargraves and Marco Cavazos met working together at Club Humidor, a cigar shop in San Antonio.
They found it frustrating that most cigar brands are made by one or two huge companies that mass produce smokes.
“It’s like micro breweries,” says Hargraves, who now lives in the neighborhood. “There are people making these small batches, but you just have to find them.”
One that Hargraves and Cavazos have found is Tesa, produced by two brothers in Estelí, Nicaragua with a retail shop in Chicago. They also found a guy in a tiny shop in New Orleans who makes great hand-rolled cigars, they say. That operation is so small it doesn’t even have a name, but the Cigar Arts guys expect to have the cigars in their shop soon.
Cigars came into fashion again in the early ’90s, so people who started smoking then have been into cigars for 20 years now, Hargraves says. And they’re still smoking the same cigars.
“We’re trying to introduce people to cigars they haven’t tried before,” he says.
Along with the small-batch cigars, Cigar Arts offers legal Cuban cigars. The most expensive is La Bella Otero, pre-Castro cigars, which cost $145 each. They also sell Little Story cigars ($32 each), rolled in Miami with Cuban tobacco before the Cuba embargo. And there are Muskete cigars ($47 each), rolled in Germany with Cuban tobacco before the embargo. Hargraves and Cavazos say it’s unusual for a cigar dealer to offer these rare Cuban cigars by the singles. Usually, they are sold by the box to big ballers.
“We wanted to give someone who can’t afford a $5,000 or $10,000 box of cigars the opportunity to celebrate and splurge with one cigar,” Cavazos says.
The shop also offers higher-end cigarettes and pipe tobacco. They hope to open their own storefront eventually as smoking is not allowed in a retail shop. If they open a tobacco shop, they will be allowed to offer “tastings” in the store, they say.