A love af­fair with a ‘man cave’ ap­peal

Eas­ton’s Cigar & Smoke Shop cel­e­brates 20 years

Sunday Star - - BUSINESS - By CHRIS POLK cpolk@star­dem.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @chrisp_s­tar­dem. Email me at cpolk@star­dem.com.

EAS­TON — Twenty years ago, Bob Suder de­cided he’d had enough of prac­tic­ing law in Bal­ti­more, packed up and, with his wife Shirley and fam­ily, moved to the East­ern Shore.

He de­cided he’d do some­thing fun for a change. He loved cigars, and there was no place to get a good one for miles around.

So he bought a small brick build­ing at the cor­ner of Glen­wood Av­enue and Wash­ing­ton Street, and the Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop was born.

Suder’s fam­ily and friends, mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, loyal cus­tomers and lo­cal dig­ni­taries, along with the Tal­bot County Cham­ber of Com­merce, cut a rib­bon Fri­day, Oct. 5, to cel­e­brate the shop’s 20 years.

Suder said his love af­fair with cigars be­gan when he was given a box to cel­e­brate the birth of his son in 1973. Be­fore that, he had smoked a pipe to help him through the long hours of study­ing to get through law school.

But to be a suc­cess in the cigarselling busi­ness, Suder said he had a lot of read­ing and re­search to do.

One of the trick­i­est as­pects was the cre­ation of the hu­mi­dor to store his stock.

His son, Brian Suder, was a col­lege stu­dent, and they went into busi­ness to­gether, build­ing a hu­mi­dor of Span­ish cedar that has kept him in busi­ness for two decades.

Suder said Brian even­tu­ally set­tled in Cal­i­for­nia, and it is his step­son Ja­son Hub­bard who re­cently be­came the new owner of the busi­ness.

Hub­bard has been work­ing in the shop for 14 years. He said he started work­ing in the store when he was in his 20s and never imag­ined how far it would take him.

“It’s been an amaz­ing time,” he said. “I’ve met some re­ally great peo­ple and re­ally amaz­ing peo­ple, and I hope we can be here an­other 20 years do­ing this.”

“The one thing about the busi­ness is you meet all walks of life,” Hub­bard said. “Blue col­lar, white col­lar, politi­cians, mu­si­cians.”

He said it was an ex­cit­ing time when blues mu­si­cian and five­time Grammy win­ner Robert Cray showed up at the shop to buy cigars.

The jovial, re­laxed at­mos­phere at the shop rapidly makes friends out of strangers, he said.

Hub­bard said at a re­cent bar­be­cue event some of the cus­tomers were mu­si­cians, some were not, but they joined to­gether and gave an im­promptu con­cert.

“That just shows what type of peo­ple come in,” he said. “Some­times they could be the CEO of some big com­pany or just a store clerk in town, but ev­ery­body just kind of comes to­gether. It’s kind of a com­mon ground.”

Th­ese days, the Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop is a full smoke shop, not just car­ry­ing cigars.

Cigars, pipes, to­bacco for pipes, some rolling to­bac­cos are its stock items, Hub­bard said, but mostly cigars and ac­ces­sories. Its cig­a­rette sales are very lim­ited, he said, with brand names like Nat Sher­man or Dun­hill.

Hub­bard said its best-sell­ing line is the Padron fam­ily cigars.

“They were ac­tu­ally orig­i­nally from Cuba and moved over in ‘64 to Nicaragua, and they’ve been pro­duc­ing cigars from that re­gion ever since,” he said.

Hub­bard said most of the shop’s cigars come from Nicaragua, the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and Hon­duras.

“Ar­turo Fuente, Padron, Per­domo — and the list goes on and on,” he said. Hub­bard said those com­pa­nies pro­duce lit­er­ally thou­sands of cigar types.

“We’re ver y lucky,” Suder said. “A lot of the stores up in Bal­ti­more and Wash­ing­ton, the cigars that they get are hard to get from the deal­ers. They are usu­ally spo­ken for long be­fore they come in.”

“We don’t do that, so peo­ple come from all over, and they see cigars that they can’t get else­where, so they’re ex­cited,” Suder said.

Dur­ing the rib­bon cut­ting on Oct.

5, Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R-37-MidShore, and Del. Johnny Mautz,

R-37B-Tal­bot, pre­sented a ci­ta­tion from the en­tire East­ern Shore del­e­ga­tion of the Mar yland Gen­eral Assem­bly hon­or­ing the shop’s 20 years of busi­ness.

Eckardt and Mautz told them how fan­tas­tic it was that they’ve been in busi­ness for two decades.

“It’s hard to find a good cigar,” Mautz said. “This is a gem for us to have here.”

There’s a cozy out­door pa­tio area with ta­bles un­der um­brel­las where cus­tomers are wel­come to sit, en­joy cigars or a pipe and watch what­ever’s go­ing on Wash­ing­ton Street and Glen­wood Av­enue.

In­side a large lounge with two gi­ant-screen tele­vi­sions and sump­tu­ous leather fur­ni­ture has a def­i­nite “man cave” feel. In the cor­ner, of course, a cigar-store In­dian has a place of honor.

The Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop is open 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Mon­day through Fri­day and 10 a.m. to

6 p.m. Satur­day. It is at the cor­ner of Glen­wood Av­enue and Wash­ing­ton Street. Like the store and check its their events on Face­book.

PHO­TOS BY CHRIS POLK

Bob Suder is all smiles in­side the spe­cial hu­mi­dor made of Span­ish cedar he built with his son Brian Suder 20 years ago at the Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop.

A cigar store In­dian, right, has a place of honor in the Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop lounge.

A large lounge with two gi­ant-screen tele­vi­sions and sump­tu­ous leather fur­ni­ture has a def­i­nite “man cave” feel at the Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop.

From left, Bob and Shirley Suder and their son Ja­son Hub­bard are con­grat­u­lated on the suc­cess of the Eas­ton Cigar & Smoke Shop for the past 20 years. Bob Suder started the busi­ness and Ja­son Hub­bard has just be­come the new busi­ness owner.

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