Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Burning Both Ends: Cigar Box Plans New Tulsa-Area Location, Expansion in OKC Area

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Burning Both Ends: Cigar Box Plans New Tulsa-Area Location, Expansion in OKC Area

Article excerpt

TULSA - A two-pronged growth strategy will soon take The Cigar Box into new markets.

That should start May 1 with the debut of The Cigar Box Whiskey Bar and Tap House, an expanded concept that will return the Tulsa- based retailer to the Riverwalk shopping center in Jenks.

A licensing agreement with Tailwinde Enterprises of Midwest City could also extend the brand into that Oklahoma City suburb. Tailwinde owner Blair Barber hopes to win City Council approval this month, allowing for a construction start and possible July debut.

"Once we get the Midwest City location going, we'll be looking at other areas in Oklahoma, and potentially Arkansas," said Russell Hurt, who owns the chain with his wife, Kim, and partners Tami and Robert Foust. "We would like to do more license agreements for other locations. We're always scheming and looking to grow our business."

Cigar Box's 1,500-square-foot Riverwalk relaunch will offer no retail products, Hurt said. That breaks from the successful floor plan the team has employed since its 2005 Riverwalk debut: a smoke- free retail section at the front, with an enclosed bar for smokers at the back.

Despite anti-smoking and recessionary pressures, the Tulsa firm has steadily expanded from that Arkansas River shopping center base. A Broken Arrow shop opened in 2008, followed by a Cherry Street store in 2010 and a 91st and Yale location last fall.

The chain also rents out a mobile cigar lounge, which has a 25- seat interior outfitted like a limousine.

All these shops followed the same operating system, and ran as large as 1,900 square feet, Hurt said. The front section features a humidor with about 500 different brands of cigars and accessories, along with pipe tobacco and related products. The full-service bar touts some 25 scotch and whiskey options.

Cigar Box utilizes a general staff of 30 employees, rotating them around to all Tulsa-area locations, Hurt said. …

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