NAPLES, Fla.- Are people closer to lighting up Cuban cigars sold in the United States?
Cigar stores in Southwest Florida are positioning themselves to be front and center of a potentially huge business.
“I plan on rolling the first Cuban cigars in my shop, right here in Naples.”
At Marcus Daniel Tobacconnist you’ll find cigars composed of the tobacco leaves grown in nearly every country in the Caribbean — except one.
“I call it the big four, you’ve got: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Cuba. We’re just missing one of those links.”
The store’s namesake and owner, Marcus Daniel, has been waiting more than half of his life for the embargo to be lifted.
“I believe that the Cuban tobacco is really where it’s at.”
The California transplant says the reason he moved to Southwest Florida and started making cigars was with the dream that someday he’d be able to start importing Cuban-grown tobacco.
He says if you want to be an actor, move to Hollywood; and if you want to make cigars — move to south Florida.
Today he’s more hopeful than ever before. Daniel says as soon as the travel restrictions were lifted, the head of Cuba’s most famous tobacco plantation came to the U.S. on a tour — visiting cigar shops across the country. His first stop was Naples.
Critics say this latest marketing push is one step closer to the anticipated lifting of the embargo, which will only financially support the comunist regime.
“I don’t understand why something as simple as promoting your family’s heritage in the tobacco business suddenly turns political. I just don’t see that.”
Regardless of the criticism, Daniel thinks cigar makers in Cuba are already rolling cigars destined for Florida.