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Talking Tobacco with Two Guys Smoke Shop

By Kelly Church

Just over the Massachusetts border and into Nashua, N.H., is a storefront that started out as a very small cigar shop and has turned into New England's highest volume cigar business. Two Guys Smoke Shop was started by just two guys, brothers John and David Garofalo, in 1985. Their first storefront in Somerville, MA was a mere 200-square feet. Now, the brothers run their business out of a 7,500-square foot space in Salem, NH, and also have a successful catalog and mail order production.

The Garofalo brothers originally opened up shop in Massachusetts and solidified their now very successful business. In 1996 when the state introduced cigar taxes, the brothers moved their business across the state lines into New Hampshire and their business skyrocketed.

"It turned out to be a great decision moving over the borer into New Hampshire," says David. "We were doing very well in Massachusetts but when we moved to New Hampshire our business soared. For many years we saw growth of over 30% per year and we quickly became the highest independently owned and operated brick and mortar premium cigar retailer in the world. This is a small industry but a big milestone for us nevertheless."

Over the years, Two Guys Smoke Shop continued to grow and they continued to expand their space to have their current three locations throughout the state: Salem, Nashua and Seabrook. David says that although their growth has slowed, they credit it to competing with themselves. They have larger spaces and more locations to accommodate for customer demand.

"We are still pretty popular with cigar smokers," David says. "We pull them in from many states, as we are a destination business. Every major highway out of Massachusetts leads to Two Guys Smoke Shop."

The Garofalo brothers have 1,100 different cigars in stock, all with varying tastes, sizes and flavors. Employees on staff are considered experts in cigars and are there to help cigar lovers find new favorites and new customers find their perfect cigar.

"Every one of our employees are trained to be experts in cigars and with a few questions we are pretty confident we can pick out a cigar that meets and exceeds your expectations," David says. "Don't ever feel funny about asking questions. We love them and if you're not asking, we will ask you."

Two Guys Smoke Shop has climate-controlled humidors, keeping their cigars fresh and getting better with age. David equates cigars to a fine wine. A lapse in proper storage can ruin a quality wine and a quality cigar. One cigar will taste different depending on where it's purchased. Each cigar has a different strength, body and flavor, and David recommends if you're new to cigars to allow the expert tobacconist guide you to the right one.

"As I said, the selection is vast, and every cigar is not for everyone, as everyone's tastes are different," David says. "If you drink your coffee light with sugar you will like a different cigar than someone who likes espresso. The same would go for beer drinkers who like heavy dark beers instead of a light beer. The tobacconist will ask questions like that to narrow down the correct choices to match your budget. A good cigar is simply one you enjoy, but tastes are subjective. It is our job to find you the right one and we are pretty good at it."

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