In 1922, Morris Shapiro and his brother, Isador, opened a candy store and smoke shop in New York City called Shapiro’s Smoke Shop. A journey through the decades has transformed the family business from a tiny shop in Manhattan into a 4,000-square-foot (approx. 372-square-meter) retail outlet and federally licensed cigar factory in Norwalk, Connecticut, called Cigar Factory Outlet. “We have our warehouse, our offices and our retail shop there,” explains Brian Shapiro, who is co-owner with his father, Ron, and director of international sales for Oliva Cigar Company. “My Oliva International headquarters was ultimately based there as well.”
The retail outlet houses a “couple hundred facings,” but Oliva is the flagship brand, including a number of private-label bundle brands made by Oliva. Plus, they have their own cigar roller who makes cigars using only Oliva tobacco. The design of the facility is unique, in that the entire building is humidified, including the offices, warehouse and retail area. The entire space has a very open, “warehouse feel,” including the 500-square-foot (approx. 46-square-meter) lounge where they sell beer, spirits, and soft drinks.
The company’s success can be credited to its diversified business model within the industry. “We have a retail shop and cigar lounge, but we also found ways to expand beyond our physical location,” explains Brian. “We do weddings and corporate events, and distribute to golf clubs and liquor stores.”
Cigar Factory Outlet
27 Hanford Pl
Norwalk, CT 06854