If you ever venture out to the mile-high city of Denver, Colo., and you are seeking a unique smoking experience (not in the sense of the word that rhymes with seed), travel five miles south to Englewood. It’s like one continuous sprawl from Denver.
There you will encounter the Edward’s Pipe & Tobacco Shop sitting squarely at 3441 S. Broadway.
On a recent visit to the mountains and plains of Colorado, the Pundit wandered over to Englewood and found this delightful and colorful pipe shop.
This sort of square box store, roughly 3,000 square feet in size with a back door that reminds you of an old farm home, is quite possibly one of the oldest tobacco shops in the entire state.
The building, says shop owner Nick Perry, was constructed sometime in the 1920s. Perry, 37, purchased the store about three years ago from its previous owner, Bryan Reid, and the last owner, Reid’s son, Bryn (cq) Reid.
Perry, a mechanical engineer who said he worked in New Orleans, La., on the “drilling, exploration, and sales side of things.” He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 2009.
“Born and raised in Lakewood, the first city west of Denver,” he said. He was an Edward’s customer for many years before he left “big oil to go to big tobacco.”
His next entrepreneurial adventure, Perry says, will be his “trifecta. Big logging.”
The Edwards shop has gone through many iterations in its 100-year-old history: from grocery, and appliance stores, to at one point a farrier shop.
In 1969 the shop became an Edward’s Pipe Shop, switching from horses and hooves, perhaps, to pipes and tobacco.
Today, the store sports two smoking parlors and a large outdoor patio where patrons can enjoy pipes and cigars. Cigars, by the way, account for about 70 percent of the shop’s business, Perry says.
However, pipes and veteran blender Tom Young’s mixtures, some of which date to his beginnings with the shop in 1969, where he has been since its opening.
When asked his age, Tom says, “I’m old enough to know better, but don’t!”
And this note about Tom’s self-described shop title: “I’m the Colonel of the Urinal.”
Enough on ages and titles.
Perry says his shop is not connected to the old Edwards franchise, but the name was retained because it was so well known in the Denver metro area.
“We do a very good pipe and tobacco business. And we are seeing the younger guys coming to it as new pipe smokers. It’s always good to get them converted to the pipe,” Perry says.
Of course, one of the curious things about tobacco shops today in the state is the so-called “head” shops in which cannabis is sold legally.
“You would not believe that people come in here and think we are a ‘head’ shop,” Perry says.
No, he says, no glass pipes. No ‘weed.”
“We send them down the road where there is no shortage of head shops.”
Doc Thomas, 38, is the shop’s manager, master blender, and pipe repairman.
He says the shops old oak floors are “nice and creaky.”
He says the shop probably has one of the largest selections of pipes and tobacco products in the state. There is a large walk-in humidor in the main portion of the shop with shelves stuffed full of cigar boxes.
Another huge humidor in the basement stores boxes of cigars to age for about one year.
That’s not only to mature the cigars but also to acclimate the stogies to the mile-high altitude of the area.
“If you get a cigar from Florida shipped here and open it,” says Doc. “It will almost explode.”
Voila! Thus the aging and climatizing process are necessary.
The walls are brick and overhead high wooden wall shelves brim with some long-ago tins no longer available.
But there are Tom’s formula blends for Bishop’s Burley, Black Watch, the store’s top seller, Scottish Moor, a non-aromatic version, Buccaneer Black, English Supreme, Ed’s Oriental Supreme, and Good Companion.
One of the shop’s fav Young blends, Doc says, is his Raspberry Creek blend, half-and-half raspberry, and peaches.
And, Doc says, the shop does a comparatively good business with mail orders for Tom’s tobacco blends.
“We have a Rolodex full of customers around the country,” he says.
And just a bit on Edward’s Pipes and Tobaccos.
I began smoking Edward’s while in college and later worked as a journalist in Atlanta. The Edward’s shop in the Big A was a delight. Free coffee, and a few tobaccos to try out. And of course walls of pipes, including Edward’s specially cured Algerian briar.
I still have my Edwardian Canadian, one of the sweetest smoking pipes I have ever owned.
Later after a move to Arkansas to run a small five-day-a-week newspaper, I was on a steady order for Edwards’ premier tobaccos. And, of course, more Edward’s pipes.
Kevin, PipesMagazine.com publisher and founder, has an excellent story of how he was introduced to Edward’s Pipes and Tobaccos.
And now, a notable pipe smoker of the past:
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, was born Aug. 13, 1899, in Essex, England, and died April 29, 1980, in Los Angeles, Calif.
He is famously known as the “Master of Suspense,” (think “Psycho” and “The Birds.”)
It is thought the famed film director smoked Dunhill pipe blends.
In 1980, the ailing Hitchcock was appointed a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE).
Quote: “Ideas come from everything.”
― Alfred Hitchcock