The world is changing quickly and seismically for small businesses, including specialty retailers like Mardo Cigars. For three decades, the company’s namesake, Mardo Abajian, ran a storefront cigar business in Southern California.
When retirement led Mardo and his wife, Ann, to Florida around the turn of the last decade, rapid changes in the regulatory and business climate were already putting immense pressure on the business. The company had to change with the times.
When Mardo passed away in mid-2015, the mantle for carrying on — and evolving — the cigar business fell to his son, Gerard, and his son’s best friend, Neil Garcia. Neil and Gerard quickly launched a new direction for the company, named in Mardo’s memory, and built a strategy that includes physical storefronts in Laguna Niguel, California and Sarasota, Florida, in addition to a national e-commerce push.
“The physical stores are important for our loyal regular customers — it’s a place for them to hang out, watch sports, and just relax,” says Neil, who serves as president of Mardo Cigars. “We know we also have to find customers online these days, so we’re changing a lot of things about how a business like ours thinks and works."
Mardo's Technical Rating of a Cigar
To better enjoy, understand, feel and judge cigars you break it down into three categories.
1. Power scale, is the feel of the smoke in your mouth of how much it is concentrated or diluted. Mild, Medium, Full Bodied or on a number scale from 1 to 20 with 10 being medium. The strong or full body cigar makes you feel dizzy or an overwhelming intensity, while the milder ones or the lighter ones are like air.
2. Characteristics, is the most complex category to explain and describe a cigar. It can be on a nutty side or peppery and coffee side. Characteristics are also described with taste, aroma, smell, spices and a litany of other fantastic flavors, whether ripe or unripe, easy or hard draw. Consistency and after taste also coincide with the characteristics of a cigar. Lots of arguments, lots of facts, lots of opinions surround the characteristics of a cigar.
3. Finish, is the sensation of the smoke in your mouth that lingers on your palate, tongue and throat. It can be a soft finish, semi soft finish, semi dry finish or dry finish, which has a sandy or dusty dryness effect inside your palate.
These 3 categories are independent of each other and the preferences of a cigar are always subjective. N.B. = This kind of categories applies for other libations such as drinks.