Supporting a B&M

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john218

Preferred Member
May 5, 2012
562
0
Connecticut
I got an email on my phone at 12:20 this afternoon saying smokingpipes had Penzance in stock. This time I jumped on it real quick and called 4 minutes after getting the message. All gone!
Later, I called The Owl Shop in Worcester, MA and ordered four of their blends, Patterson's Mixture, Harkness Tower, Bancroft Tower and St. John's Mixture. Zack said he would send an ounce of one of their other blends for free. These are all their own unique blends, not relabeled product.
Although the first Owl Shop is here in CT in New Haven, it was turned into a cigar bar/jazz club after Mrs. St. John, the owner's widow sold it several years ago. The store in Worcester was started in 1946 by St. John's brother in law, George Photakis and is now run by his grandson, Zack Photakis, so I started doing business with him.
I spent some time with Zack, discussing their blends, the problems tobacconists have today getting consistent quality tobacco for blending and the changes in marketing blends these days. It was an interesting and illuminating conversation.
I speculated with Zack what would happen to the pipe tobacco aspect of the business in the New Haven store once, Joe Lentine, the tobacconist and only holdover from the original store is gone. I first started patronising the New Haven store in 1960, when it was a premier pipe store, so I am saddened to see the change of focus there.
Times have changed and like everone else, I get most of my tobacco from the online stores. Service is quick and their prices can't be matched by the B&M's, but I will also continue to support some of the B&M's such as The Owl Shop and Peretti's, who offer their own unique blends.
You can't beat the experience of walking into a tobacconist, taking in that aroma of tobacco and having some pipes taken off the wall or from the showcase for you to look at and hold in your hand.

 

wnghanglow

Preferred Member
Mar 25, 2012
696
0
I am so excited, later this week I'm taking a trip to Dallad, Tx where they have some lovely shops! I'm also more happy about giving my tax money to Texas over Oklahoma do that's a little plus :p

 

john218

Preferred Member
May 5, 2012
562
0
Connecticut
It sure was, Coalsmoke. Being right next to the Yale campus and across the street from the Shubert Theater, where all Broadway plays first started out, I wonder how many famous people went through those doors over the years.

 

hunter185

Member
May 4, 2012
215
0
I think a lot of people would like to support a b&m. But it's kind of a snowballing problem. The less b&m's there are, the smaller the service area, the more people turn to online businesses. And the more people turn to online businesses, the fewer pipe and tobacco customers frequent the b&m...and the less likey they are to remain in business or carry those products...and so on.

In my case, for example, I live well over an hour from the nearest city that has a b&m. From the city limits to the b&m is another 45 minutes (but I won't take my dually downtown!). So I'm looking at 3.5 hours of driving, which costs me about $60 in deisel. That makes any purchase (already ridiculousy expensive in Canada) even more expensive.

I believe 1 b&m in the province was smart enough to build a decent website and offer online ordering.

Supporting a local business that's been there for years is an honorable thing. We hate to see these places go - and it happens all the time, with hardwares, pharmacies... but part of the onus is on the b&m to employ a marketing strategy to keep their business as times change and more transactions are done online.

 

john218

Preferred Member
May 5, 2012
562
0
Connecticut
I agree with what you're saying, hunter185.
The two B&M's that I deal with do have a mail order business which they want to expand. They prefer doing it mostly over the phone instead of the internet, so they can have some interaction with the customer. It takes a little more time than clicking a mouse, but I like having that conversation with someone. Guess I am a little old fashioned in some ways.
Having said that, shopping on the internet has it's own virtues and is the future.

 

surlysoul

Junior Member
Jan 22, 2013
96
0
I am biased because I own a B&M in another industry and we have a great B&M tobacconist in Colorado Springs, The Stag Tobacconist. I like having a place where I can hold and feel a pipe before I buy it. I think their prices are fair, sometimes the tobacco is slightly more than online, but I figure thats the price of having a smoking lounge, people that are passionate about the hobby and willing to help, and hosting a pipe club. Customer service is great, I bought a lighter from them that has a lifetime warranty, if I were to have a problem they would switch it out on the spot and make the warranty their problem not mine. Their money goes back into my local economy and they are more likely to be in tune with local tobacco issues/legistlation. I support my local B&M and buy something from them once a week.
That being said, I also enjoy this forum and like to support the online sponsers that support it and also do some of my business with them.When I am stocking up and buying large amounts of tobacco, it is usually online.

 

fitzy

Preferred Member
Nov 13, 2012
2,933
0
NY
Where I live the only B&M near by is over the border in the next state about 40 minutes away(no NY 75% taxes) but the downside is that they cater mostly to roll your owns and cigars. Their pipe tobacco selection is is very limited and tins only no bulk. The pipes are just covered in dust as clearly very few people go there for pipes or pipe tobacco.
Where I work I am lucky enough to have several tobacconists within the city. However the closest one to me closed due to the landlord tripling the rent. The others that are close enough to get to on my lunch break carry limited supplies of pipe tobacco. The problem is that with the 75% tax rates they can't sell tobacco anywhere near the prices of the online shops plus throw in their overhead costs of running a shop in Manhattan and the prices just aren't competitive. If I had a shop near me that had a great selection of pipe tobacco's both tins and bulk I would pay the extra money but that's really not an option as it is currently.
John if you want Penzance give Ed a call over at Payless. 866-747-3747
Tell him Don F sent you.

 

john218

Preferred Member
May 5, 2012
562
0
Connecticut
fitzy, many thanks.
I just called Payless and talked to Ed (real nice guy). He is sending me some Penzance. As a matter of fact, he just emailed me the tracking number.
I'm looking forward to trying it after all I've heard about it.
Thanks again.

 

piperat

New member
Feb 20, 2013
7
0
I'm lucky to have 2 B&M's in town that have some bulk tobacco selection, and pipes. One place caters mostly to cigar smokers, and the pipe selection is all pretty high end and very pricey, but the other one has a huge range of pipes, bulk tobacco, some tins, as well as any and every other smoke shop type thing possible. I'm actually going there tonight after work to scope out a new pipe to add to the collection. I'll pay a bit more and not mind at a B&M, when I can find what I want, just to help support them and keep them going.

 

kris

Senior Member
Sep 16, 2012
434
0
Not sure if it's lucky or not, but over here in the UK, online prices are no cheaper than at a b&m. So, generally I only buy at b&m's. On the plus side, my local guy will match any price I can find online for any pipe. I love my local guy!