Please allow me to introduce myself and my business. My name is Mark Hamouche, owner of Holy Smokes, a startup business based in Ames, Iowa that focuses on providing local retailers with the ability to sell premium cigars in the rapidly growing cigar sector. After working for years at Gateway Express (dba Filling Station) in Ames and after seeing firsthand their struggle to source, maintain and sell premium cigars, I decided to help them fix the problem.
For many customers (and business owners for that matter), premium cigars are tough to buy. One has to find a tobacco store that sells such cigars. When they do find one, the cigars are expensive and there are so many options people are confused as to what to buy. When they do find cigars at a local retailer, they are usually poorly maintained and the clerk is not very knowledgeable about premium cigars and doesn’t know how to help the customer.
My company, Holy Smokes, will fix these problems by providing a high-quality humidor, a humidifying system as well as a selection of hand-picked premium cigars sourced out by myself. We will also provide you and your staff background information about these cigars so that you can provide customers an experience and a reason to come back for more. When we introduced our product and services to the Filling Station of Ames they experienced not only a significant increase in sales but also repeat customers.
How it Works
After agreeing/signing up, you will purchase from us a humidor, a digital hygrometer and humidifying system (at our cost of about $100) delivered to your store. You will purchase cigars at wholesale pricing from us and we will recommend a retail price range for each cigar. For your first order, please use the code: CIGARME at checkout to receive a 10% discount on your cigars.
- We will recommend brands (the selection can be adjusted to the local market)
- Restock on cigars easily through email, phone or through our website
- We will provide the retail merchandising information on each cigar to help educate your staff
- We are a local startup, so if you have any problem, we are a short drive away and will be there in person to fix any and all issues!
Like craft beer and fresh roasted coffee, premium cigars are experiencing a revival and are expecting solid growth over the coming years. We have already seen this system work and we would love to help you make premium cigars accessible to your customers. However, for success, it is important to have someone who is knowledgeable about cigars and humidors, and who has access to good quality cigars at the best prices. We plan to be that someone for you.
Please feel free to email or call with any questions. I will be contacting you to explore the possibility of making premium cigars part of your business’ brand.
Thank you for your time.
Mark Hamouche, Certified Cigar Sommelier
Holy Smokes, LLC.
I live in Ames, Iowa and have graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in history. While in school, I worked at Burgie’s Coffee and the Filling Station, a locally owned convenience store. While at work, I noticed the cigar sales were sluggish and I felt it was due to the wrong humidor and the wrong combination and quality of cigars. The owner of the store graciously allowed me to put a different humidor with my selection of premium cigars along with a commitment to educate their staff. The result was sales improved significantly. The concept was well received, and some customers became repeat ones and came just for the cigars. So, I decided to get certified as a cigar sommelier and start my own business. I founded a cigar distribution company, Holy Smokes LLC. that is tailored to bringing premium cigars to convenience stores and other local points of sale (golf clubs, hotels…). I hope we can do business together.