Opening a cigar bar in the right locale can be a lucrative endeavor that’ll have bar owners smiling and holding a stogie while counting cash receipts. However, without the right plan, entrepreneurs are setting themselves up for financial difficulties and disappointment. To open a cigar bar, follow the steps below to enhance your chances of success.
Obtain a Cigar Bar Certification
Each state has different criteria for opening a cigar bar, but most require entrepreneurs to obtain a cigar bar certification. The application to get certified can include items such as an application fee, business plan, financial statements and a sketch and photo of the bar’s humidor, among other documents. Given that many states have laws that restrict smoking, the qualification criteria for opening a cigar bar are very specific. Once certification is obtained, entrepreneurs can get their operations going.
Gather the Right Equipment
The equipment and accessories required for a cigar bar vary, depending on the vision of individual entrepreneurs. Basic items like cigar cutters and lighters are needed, as well as a humidor to house the cigars until they are sold. Quality humidors are made of specific types of wood, such as Spanish Cedar or American Red Cedar, because they are effective at dealing with the humidity that can otherwise make your valuable stock worthless.
Secure Wholesale Cigar Suppliers
Finding cigar suppliers is an important part of making a cigar bar a success. Online cigar supply shops can provide business owners with a wide range of cigars from all around the world. Buying in bulk from a few suppliers can lead to cost-savings. An alternative is to form relationships with individual cigar companies and feature their products.
Bar Layout and Displays
Prospective cigar bar owners also have to decide how they want to sell their cigars, whether it’s through a direct sales team or elaborate in-store displays. Large in-store display cases are typical for cigar bars, but can be complicated to install and require regular maintenance. This is because wherever cigars are stored, the environment and humidity have to be controlled. Most cigar bars have a combination of display cases and lounge areas, giving bars a relaxed vibe. Once the venue is established, bar owners can ramp-up their marketing efforts.
Create Some Buzz
Marketing a new cigar bar is an important part of turning the fledgling enterprise into a success. Radio ads, online marketing campaigns and social media can be used to get the word out. Offering free samples of cigars at selected venues, such as at weddings, corporate events or local bars, is also an effective means of creating some buzz. Since a cigar bar often attracts individuals who like to drink casually, developing promotions with local bars owners also gets a new cigar establishment noticed.
- Entrepreneur: Business Idea Center -- Cigar Sales
- Michigan Department of Community Health: MDCH -- Cigar Bars are Exempt from Smoking Ban
- Oregon.gov: Smoke Shop and Cigar Bar Certification
- State of Nebraska: Cigar Bar Certification Checklist
- State of Massachusetts: Smoking Bars, Cigar Bars and Hookah Bars and the Massachusetts Smok-Free Workplace Law
- SeriousCigars.com: Cigar Humidors
- Shaiith/iStock/Getty Images