Velazquez Cigar Company Celebrates Grand Opening with Ribbon Cutting
by James Coulter
The saying “close but no cigar” couldn’t be truer for Velazquez Cigar Company. For the past 30 years, it has sold only the highest quality cigars grown from the best-grown tobacco. Only the best of the best is sold. If it doesn’t come close, then it’s no cigar.
“Our owner…sees the production of our product in the Dominic Republic, and if it is not up to our standards, we do not sell it. Doesn’t matter if it is smokable or it is not,” said Magaly Velazquez, co-owner, manager, and daughter of the owner, Enrique Velazquez.
For three decades, Velazquez Cigar Company has been selling their quality cigars in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. They recently set up shop in Lakeland, down the street from their other business, La Imperial Bakery, which sells baked goods, quesadillas, and Puerto Rican food.
Upon graduating from college, Magaly was given the opportunity by her father to continue their family business. She and her family moved to Lakeland to offer a great product that their family had been making for three decades and counting.
The key to their success has been family. Not only has their family run the business for the longest time, but they treat their customers like close family. So, the minute you step into their store, be it the bakery or cigar shop, you’ll be sure to be greeted with a warm smile and maybe even a hug.
“We always like to say we are a big family here,” Maglay said. “So, when you come through our doors, there will always be a smile and a big hug because we are a big family…They can expect huge smiles, family atmosphere, and just a very relaxed laid-back environment to enjoy a cigar.”
Velazquez Cigar Company celebrated its grand opening last Thursday with a ribbon-cutting hosted by the Greater Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. Lakeland Mayor Bill Mutz appeared at the ceremony to cut the ribbon and offer encouraging words of support to the new business.
Mutz knows firsthand the high-quality service that the Velaquezes offer at their businesses. He and many other people love the great food their bakery serves and attests to their fine quality.
“People love the bakery,” he said. “Who goes there who doesn’t love eating there? No one. Or at least no who isn’t in their right mind. The same thing will be true of the cigar aficionados in our city here.”
Mutz especially loves the sense of family and community that the Velaquezes emanate from their two businesses. Such family values are a plus for Lakeland businesses, as it makes the community closer like a real family.
“So, we are grateful for that and our city from not only the standpoint of just the investment in the quarter and the offering of our citizens but mostly in terms of the examples that it sets and the jobs it creates and to do so in a culture that is healthy to be in,” he said.
Patrick Gogliardo, a chamber board member, spoke highly of the shop’s quality, especially since he took the opportunity that day to sample a drag from one of their cigars. But, most of all, he appreciated the dedication the business had to family, both theirs and their customers.
“As a New Yorker, when you said you met the family, well, I met the family,” Gogliardo said. “I got a taste of the heritage, and I got an education of what they do, they are very well educated about what they do, there is no doubt. I want to thank you for believing in the Chamber because the Chamber believes in you.”
Velazquez Cigar Company is located at 812 E Main St, Lakeland, FL 33801. For more information, visit their website at: https://www.velazquezcigarcompany.com