Saturday, September 8, 2007

Happy 12th

Today, September 8, 2007 is my 12 year Anniversary as a retail Tobacconist in Princeton, NJ. I almost forgot until my mother called to congratulate me. In Cuban culture September 8th is a special, holy, and lucky day, so by coincidence, synchronicity, or just plain luck, this is an auspicious day for me.

I'm not necessarily fond of anniversaries or birthdays, but this seems like an important one. After all, when I opened A Little Taste of Cuba in 1995 the cigar boom was just kicking into high gear, the internet was blossoming, the economy was booming, tobacco taxes were a fraction of what they are today, and you could still smoke in some restaurants and entertainment venues: those were 'heady' days and I was too young and busy working to truly appreciate them. I was so young I had to maintain a '5 o'clock' shadow just to look old enough to smoke. I made a lot of mistakes (still do) and spent all of my time LEARNING voraciously. Ironically, I still feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I DON'T KNOW. I suppose that is why I started Tobacconist University!

I'm reminded of something one of the Georgetown Tobacco Tobacconists told me last month. I will paraphrase:
'There are Tobacconists who have forgotten more than I have ever known.'

That rings powerfully true to me. There is so much more to learn!!! And there is so much more content coming up on Tobacconist University that is seems overwhelming while I spend my time writing emails, letters, and faxes to my senators, governor, and congressmen, trying to preserve our luxury tobacco industry. But I am still positive. The products inspire me. The customers inspire me. And Tobacconists inspire me.

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