SS August 2016

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34 SMOKESHOP August 2016 Padrón is a well-known name in cigars. In June, company founder Jose Orlando Padrón celebrated his 90th birthday and in September of this year, the company will mark its 52nd year in business. Padrón is a very tight family operation. The company has no salespeople on the road nor brokers. Everything is handled directly, out of the company's Miami office, and usually by family members. Jose has turned the day-to-day operations over to his son Jorge who spoke with Smokeshop magazine's Frank Seltzer about the company, its history, and future. SMOKESHOP: Your company, Padrón Cigars, is just over 50 years, but your fam- ily has an even longer tradition in tobacco, doesn't it? PADRÓN: Yes. My great great-grandfa- ther emigrated from the Canary Islands in the late 1800s and settled in Cuba. When he arrived he started growing tobacco. The family continued growing all the way up until the revolution. When my dad got out in 1961, he left Cuba and went to Spain first, then to New York, and finally came to Miami. He was doing different jobs—anything to make a living. He was doing carpen- try work and yard work. He founded Padrón Cigars on September 8, 1964. He had one cigar roller and he would sell the production at night. Initially, they were short fill cigars, but he also made some long fill that were sold to the Cubans in Miami in cafeterias. The long fill cigars were in boxes. SMOKESHOP: At that time he was using whatever tobaccos he could get, but how did you get involved with Nicaragua and its tobacco? PADRÓN: My father was approached by gentlemen who had tobacco from Nicaragua for sale that he was looking to sell it to Europe. It was tobacco that was grown in Jalapa. He stopped in to show some samples to my father and my father realized how good it was. My father knew the tobacco he was offering > CIGARMAKER Q&A Even as company patriarch Jose Orlando Padrón celebrates his 90th birthday, the family company he founded continues to methodically build upon its strong foundation, crafting top-quality cigars for an ever-broader range of cigar enthusiasts. >BY FRANK SELTZER Jorge Padrón, Padrón Cigars Marking Milestones

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