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Quality Importers Trading Company Acquires XIKAR, Inc.

With the involvement of Svoboda Capital Partners LLC, Quality Importers Trading Company (QI) has acquired XIKAR Inc., creating the largest accessory supplier to the premium cigar trade. Kurt Van Keppel and Scott Almsberger (pictured) will continue to run XIKAR’s operations as minority partners in the new enterprise, and will assume Executive Vice President roles respectively. XIKAR has been awarded Cigar Journal’s Cigar Trophy for Best Accessories in 2013 and 2016.

Mike Giordano commented: “On behalf of the QI family of businesses, we are excited to announce the acquisition of XIKAR, Inc., which marks our largest and most impactful transaction since our inception 18 years ago.  This is a transformational event in the cigar accessory category, creating an industry-leading partnership with enormous growth potential in existing and new markets.  Unlike all of our previous acquisitions, XIKAR contributes a coordinated and experienced team of professionals, as well as a set of high quality, branded products and services, altogether enhancing the value proposition for our retail partners.  The pure enthusiasm we have witnessed from Kurt and Scott to join the QI team has been inspiring for all of us.  As with all transitions of this kind, there is much work to be done, and we will keep our focus on executing in the most effective manner for our customers and employees.  Along the way, together, we will continue making strategic acquisitions to fulfill our mission to be the most comprehensive supplier of smoking accessories in the industry worldwide.”

Kurt Van Keppel agreed, “We at XIKAR are extremely pleased to partner with Mike Giordano and Michael Cellucci at QI, to expand the global reach of both companies’ products and services. Through this process, my respect and admiration for Mike Giordano and the company he has built grew exponentially. Michael Cellucci was a great hire by Mike. His experience, strategic vision and natural leadership skills have really helped us bring the vision of combining these two great companies into focus.”

“I have a lot of respect for the company Kurt and Scott have built. They have established a strong portfolio of market-leading products,” stated Cellucci from the TPE tradeshow in Las Vegas. “We are excited for the combination of these two companies. This is a perfect marriage, leveraging the strong brand positioning of XIKAR, and full services of QI. Our goal is to deliver a single all-encompassing solution to our retail partners focused on aggressive sales planning, innovative product development, and outstanding customer service.” Cellucci continued, “This group has shown an unwavering commitment to succeed, a group that is filled with fight and drive – and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Reinhold C. Widmayer

His journalistic career began in 1979 as a freelancer for German-language newspapers in the US, and later for Austrian media including Die Wochenpresse and Das Wirtschaftsblatt. For ten years he also produced programs for over 60 radio stations around the world. In 1994, Reinhold C. Widmayer devoted himself to all things cigar, publishing technical articles in cigar magazines. He began working for Cigar Journal in 2001 and became editor-in-chief in 2005; under his auspices the journal has established itself as the world’s leading cigar magazine.


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