TRENDS AND TRENDSETTERS IN TOBACCO RETAILING
Tobacco Sales Banned at New York State Fairgrounds
Syracuse, NY - Visitors to the New York State Fairgrounds can no longer purchase any tobacco products at any fairground events, including the annual state fair. The ban went into effect on April 4.
“In an effort to continue to make New York state the healthiest state in the nation, we have determined that the sale of tobacco products is not appropriate on the New York State Fairgrounds and we want to encourage people to participate in a healthy lifestyle,” said the fair’s executive director Dan O’Hara.
New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is pushing to make New York the healthiest state, O’Hara said. However, the state fair will continue to allow smoking in certain locations around the fairgrounds—at least for the time being—and concession favorites such as sausage sandwiches, cheese fries, fried dough, beer, and wine will still be available.
Michael Tarnowicz, owner of Connecticut Valley Tobacconist, has been selling his Battleground Cigar, Mysterioso, Old Powder Keg, and Tobacconist Choice cigar lines at the fair for the past eight years. According to Tarnowicz, two other vendors also have been offering cigarettes and cigars to the public as well.
“The ban is seen by smoker’s advocates as a very ominous development because the same people that enacted the [New York City] smoking bans are behind this initiative,” said Tarnowicz.
“This is the first time that Eliot Spitzer has actually imposed a ban on the sale of [tobacco products],” said Audrey Silk, founder of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH). “This is seen as the start of a prohibition of the sale of tobacco products. We are currently seeking help from anyone who can help us repeal this illegal prohibition. We are seeking financial assistance so we can file an immediate injunction and appear at this year’s fair to sell OTP.” Visit www.nycclash.com for details.
Creativity, Increased Sales are Focus of Natural American Spirit Retailer of the Year Contest
Santa Fe, NM - The 10th annual Natural American Spirit Retailer of the Year contest is calling upon creative retailer to compete for a top prize of $10,000, while fifteen addition retailers who are able to create compelling displays also will also win prizes. The contest runs from June 15 through July 31, and is sponsored by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.
“The $10,000 grand prize reflects the importance of the contest’s 10th year as well as Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company’s 25th anniversary,” says Elise Rodgers, manager of trade marketing. Other cash prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third places in each of five regions. In addition, 100 $150 honorable mentions will be awarded.
“Other tobacco companies tell retailers what to do with displays,” Rodgers says. “But as the ‘different’ tobacco company, we’re encouraging retailers to use their creativity.”
Retailers this year will be putting their skills to the test by creating displays using Natural American Spirit point-of-sale materials with this year’s focus “The Natural & Organic Category in Your Store.”
“It’s a great way to involve retailers and every year we see new, fresh ideas,” says Rodgers. The initial mailing to the trade went out in mid-May. Contest entries are judged on creativity, originality and potential to increase Natural American Spirit sales.
In addition, every retailer who enters will get either an Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. recycled fleece jacket or an eco-friendly hemp messenger bag.
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, based in Santa Fe, N.M., makes Natural American Spirit, 100 percent additive-free natural tobacco products. The company was recently named one of the best places to work in New Mexico and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2007.
For more information, retailers should visit www.sfntc.com.
NEW & NOTABLE|
New York City’s Grand Central Station is once again home to a cigar shop. The Grande Cigar opened in March by the Nevins family, who are also owners of the adjacent Grande Harvest Wines in the historic train station’s Graybar Passage. Smoking is not permitted in the small store, but the shop manages to stock a fine selection of top cigar brands as well as accessories including handmade humidors, cigar cutters, lighters, ashtrays, and walking sticks.
The owners of Park-Lane Tobacconist in Clifton Park, N.Y. - James Kommer; master pipe maker Paul Bonaquisti; and brother John Bonaquisti—are readying to open a second, larger location in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in June. Modeled on a traditional, English tobacconist, the store will feature a large walk-in humidor, a pipe tobacco blending bar, a membership club lounge, state-of-the-art smoke removal system, and an old vault retrofitted with private Spanish cedar cigar lockers, and antique tin ceilings.
Dave Williams opened Titan Cigar in Gambrills, Md. in February and anticipates a surge in business once the a statewide smoking ban goes into effect next year. While the ban will shut down smoking in restaurants and bars, it does not apply to tobacco retailers whose primary business comes from the sale of tobacco products and accessories. Williams already has a liquor license and will be the only establishment in his area that will be able to offer customers an alcoholic drink and a cigar. Williams said demand in the area is so high he expects to open two more cigar bars and lounges in Maryland next year. The shop offers a wide selection of cigars and is equipped with cigar lockers and a well-appointed lounge.
BITS & PIECES|
The Colorado Senate has killed a controversial bill that would have outlawed some cigar bars after opponents said it went too far trying to regulate businesses. Lawmakers where attempting to close what they called a smoking ban loophole, concerned that traditional bars are now calling themselves cigar bars to take advantage of an exemption in the statewide smoking ban. The smoking ban currently has three exemptions: casinos, cigar bars, and the smoking lounge at Denver International Airport.
Nat Sherman is moving its landmark New York retail store to a brand new, free-standing building it is constructing on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, catty-corner to its current location at 500 Fifth Avenue. The move is slated for early this summer. Company president Joel Sherman describes the new store as “a grand and unique new Nat Sherman experience featuring 5,700 square feet of retailing space on three floors with dramatic 30-foot ceilings on the ground floor and a larger climate controlled “humidor room” with private lockers. Noted Hollywood and Broadway set designer Charles McCarry collaborated with Design Consortium architect Jack A. Michaelson on the design of the new store.
Tobacco retailers in Nova Scotia, Canada have to hide their tobacco products and remove all in-store advertising over the next six months or face fines up to $10,000. The Department of Health Promotion and Protection issued new regulations that will eliminate the “power walls” that display tobacco brands behind the cash register at convenience stores. “A lot of people are not going to be going along with this because the government has not dealt in good faith,” said Sid Chedrawe of the Independent Food Stores Association. Some retailers say it’s almost impossible to comply.
SMOKESHOP - June, 2007