As a customer, I have a tendency to be rather picky. In today’s fast paced internet world, buying products online is fast, easy, and typically cheaper than a physical location. With that said, if you want to earn my business and keep me coming to your store you need to provide a service and atmosphere that makes the trip and inflated price worthwhile.
As far as cigar shops go, I rely heavily on the experience of others. The guys I hang out with at my local shop have far more experience than I do, these days, when it comes to visiting different shops. If one of them tells me about a poor experience, chances are very good that I’ll write off that shop even if I’m in the area.
As an example, there is a shop about 10 miles away from the shop I currently spend time in. A couple of years ago one of the shop regulars stopped in to purchase some cigars. After buying about $40 worth he was told that he could not use the smoking lounge unless he paid an additional $5 cover charge for a day-pass. Being as that was the only lounge in the store, this individual left a bit disgruntled.
When word got around that this happened to at least one other member, I wrote the shop off. I’ve heard the shop has since changed their stance on using the lounge but, in my mind, the damage has been done and I’ll spend my money elsewhere.
The same fast paced internet driven world that makes buying online so easy also makes word of poor shop experiences travel fast. Just this weekend I got word that one of our regulars had a bad experience at another shop. Within minutes other regulars at our shop were writing off this other B&M as a store they would no longer visit.
There is a little more to the story (which is on the Cigar Noise App if you want to hunt it down) that paints a clearer picture. I’m okay with the gun policy (their store, their rules) but the military thing rubs me the wrong way. I don’t get out to the area where this shop is located very often, however, there is enough here to keep me from stopping in the future.