Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar - at least in the famous words of Sigmund Freud. But a cigar shop is a friendly gathering place of civil, political discourse.
That's what Mike's Cigar Room, which opened two weeks ago at 8000 Texas 242, Suite 119, in Conroe, represents - not only to its owners but to the store's first customer, Mike Bialka, who lives in downtown Houston. Bialka, a pilot, had shopped at Mike and Nancy McCoy's original cigar store, which opened 25 years ago, and followed them to their new location.
"It's a phenomenal cigar store, with a great humidor," Bialka said. "Mike and Nancy are really neat people."
A third of the store's 1,575 square feet is devoted to the largest walk-in cigar humidor in Montgomery County, a cool, fragrant home to 900 types of cigars, Nancy McCoy said.
The store sells many of the world's finest cigar brands and blends, including Patron and Arturo Fuente. Sometime in November, the store will become the only Montgomery County source for the prestigious Davidoff White Label cigars, Nancy McCoy said.
The store will have its first of several grand-opening events from noon to 3 p.m. today. The first 50 people to arrive will receive either a free Ashton or La Aroma de Cuba cigar.
Each of the grand-opening events will involve "something free," she said.
Mike McCoy got into the cigar business because "I got laid off too many times in the oil business," he said. "I was a restaurant manager, but I didn't like that. I went to work for Pipe Pub (a now-defunct chain of cigar and pipe shops) and stayed there three years."
After leaving Pipe Pub, Mike McCoy opened his original cigar store in downtown Houston. The McCoys recently sold the store to their daughter and son-in-law so they could be closer to their Willis-area home.
"Mike has been driving downtown for the last 25 years, and we always wanted a larger store in the suburbs," Nancy McCoy, an attorney, said. "We had a customer, one of the best-known appellate lawyers in the state, who abruptly died at the age of 58. Mike said, 'I've always wanted to do this; let's do this.'
"There's no one in the business I know who knows more than Mike does."
Even in just the store's first two weeks, customers have noted the size of the humidor.
"I've already had people say, 'This is the biggest humidor I've ever seen,'" she said.
Customers can rent space in the humidor to store their personal cigar stock for $100 a year, Nancy McCoy said.
But it's a combination of cigars and companionship that keep Bialka coming to Mike's Cigar Room.
"People who come in are from all walks of life, kind of like the old barber shops," he said. "You get everybody from day laborers to CEOs. There's a lot of spirited discussion.
"I just enjoy the whole atmosphere."
Customers can relax with their choice of cigar in one of the store's several leather chairs and watch a high-definition TV.
The atmosphere, Nancy McCoy said, is one where "people are happy, relaxed and collegial.
"Cigar smokers have a bond, a kinship."
The store is not just a business for the McCoys.
"We do this for the fun of it," Mike McCoy said. "It's a fun business."
Friday, October 16, 2009
Source: Montgomery County Courier