Today we have an interview with Jeff Brandt of Main Street News in historical Doylestown, Pa. This is exactly the type of thing this blog was built for and I am happy to offer a platform to small shop owners, brands, etc and help get the word out. Thanks Jeff for doing this.
When did you first get into cigars?
-I smoked cigars since age 18, but got really serious about it 10 years ago, as a consumer. About 5 years ago I took a part time gig at a cigar shop and worked there about 3 years while waiting for my current store to become available. My shop Main Street News opened March of 2016.
What is it about cigars that you enjoy the most?
– I love the fact that the premium cigar is hand made. I also admire the tradition and integrity that is passed down from generation to generation.
What made you decide to open your own shop?
– I opened my Newsstand because I saw an opportunity for a business that was needed in my town. The cigars weren’t part of the original plan. It wasn’t until I started the planning and the layout of the news stand that I realized I should sell cigars, and it would fit just perfect. Not to mention I had some outside pressure from my friends to sell cigars.
So tell us a little about your shop.
– Main Street News is a small news & smoke shop in the historical town of Doylestown, Pa. My location housed a local newspaper and news stand in 1804, and continued up into the late 1800’s.
What’s the best part of being a shop owner?
– The best part about being a shop owner is meeting new people all the time. It doesn’t feel like work when your suggesting great cigars for people, and having them return with their great experience on your recommendation. Its awful satisfying.
What are some of your favorite cigars?
-I like a med-full blend the best. In a Maduro or San Andres wrapper. Some of my favorites come out of Dominican Big Leaguer factory. I also like the Jenneff Session II Maduro. That cigar is blended by Consuelo Gomez, remember her because she is doing great things with tobacco. Hamlet Parades is another guy I really like. He works under the Tavicusa umbrella which is owned by Rocky Patel. Flat Bed Cigars is another brand I like. They produce a killer San Andres cigar named Billboard, and a great PA Broadleaf.
Is there anyone in the industry that you look up to or admire? If so who and why?
– I admire the smaller, farmer who starts with a seed and ends with a finished product. Those are the people I admire. Anybody can buy a cigar and slap their name on it. But the person who spends years cultivating and planting tobacco, then blending and aging leaf is the real superstar of the industry. Like Carlos Carlito Fuente Jr., Don Peppin, and Jorge Padron, to name a few. But if I had to pick one that I really admire it would be Francisco Almonte, of Dominican Big Leaguer. He is the grower, blender, and roller and is doing great stuff with tobacco. His sticks were the first to grace my humidor, and he was the first to come see me, and I felt a connection with him and could see he is a young and ambitious business man and I wanted to grow with him. He really helped me get going in the beginning with product, and he took a chance on me. Maybe because he saw i shared the same passion and dedication in cigars as he did.
What are some of the brands available in your shop?
– I don’t limit myself to any particular brand or labels. I like what I like, and I carry such that, and anything my customers ask for.
Do you ship?
– I started to dabble in the shipping of cigars, and it wasn’t because I was looking to do so. It started out because a few folks reading my reviews on our Face Book page, and stuff I shared in the different groups I belong to such as, smoke filled room, the cigar corner, dark side of the leaf, to name a few. Anybody can message me thru the Main Street News, Doylestown Face Book page, or by email Smokejmb@yahoo.com