Question About Your Local Tobacco Shop

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tschiraldi

Lifer
Dec 14, 2015
1,810
3,530
53
Ohio
I always check my shop before buying online. They have a great pipe and tobacco. I have smoked in the shop, but not on the lounge. It's nice to be able to walk right in from the street with a lit pipe!

 

pappymac

Lifer
Feb 26, 2015
2,891
2,948
I usually spend 40 or 50 bucks in the two "local" B&Ms I visit occasionally. The one in Metarie (just outside of New Orleans) is 35 miles from where I live so I mainly stop in there once a month before our pipe club meetings. We can't smoke on premise at the moment, but the owners bought a building and have started the build-out on a new shop with two indoors smoking areas. We will be meeting there starting in November or December.
The other shop is Bayou Tobacco in Baton Rouge and about 90 miles from me. I stop there at least once or twice a month when I'm up that way. Spent $275 there on an estate pipe the last trip.

 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,457
52,314
Pipes by George on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh is my local independent. Though I don't go often, I have been a customer for many years, since the '70's, and have a number of pipes from there, and stop by to get bulk blends and pipe cleaners. He runs higher than online even with shipping, but not so much so that I can't pick up a tin on impulse now and then. It's an amazing old shop, near a bicycle shop and a tattoo parlor, but the area has recently been gentrified with spanking new apartment complexes. Hoping George can hang on for some years to come. George is the real deal on pipe men. He gently advised me that Granger is an aromatic, or semi-aromatic as Forums experts recently defined it. From George I have a once-unfinished Sav zulu, a LaRocca poker which is a perfect Semois pipe, a Ben Wade straight billiard, a Jobey straight billiard with point carving rustication, a Sav straight billiard once unfinished, and probably others I am forgetting. Wide planked floor, walk-in humidor, big jars of sampling bulk, a wall of pipes, a great vintage scale for weighing out bulk tobacco, and the aura of a true old fashioned pipe shop. Long live Pipes by George.

 
I haven't said this in a long time, so maybe it is time to get this out there... again. When we look at online vendors' prices, these are not retail prices. We have become so accustomed to paying wholesale prices, that when we walk into a tobacconist and see $20 tins, we freak out.

But, that B&M tobacconist is paying the exact same price as we do to get that inventory, plus, taxes. So, when we see $20, $25, $30 for a tin, that is NOT gouging. He has to pay mortgage/rent, utilities (and commercial utilities are rated at two to three times that of residential), and they have to pay employees, and themself. Most likely, the B&M is not making a dime of profit. In fact, in today's world, I bet any type of B&M is not really making any money.
Yes, I buy a tin everytime I walk into The Briary. I want it to stay open as it is a great place to hang out. But, I also pay those wholesale prices for cheap online tobacco every month. I'm not stupid. I will buy the tins at two to three times the wholesale, because I know this is what it takes to keep the lights on at my favorite3 place. But, I also throw hundreds a month at the online retailers.
As much as I understand how pricing works, and I want to support The Briary, only a moron wouldn't buy online to stock their cellar. However, for someone to call B&M prices "gouging" or insinuating that they are doing something wrong is wrong. We live in a world that wants to put every storefront out of business. Every business's wholesaler is also cutting the throat of their main street connection in favor of bleeding the retailers dry online. It's not the retailer's fault. And, who can blame the online vendors. It is ultimately us who is making the choices, and we are choosing to get rid of our B&M's and retailers in lieu of cheap.

And, so it goes... :puffy:

 

azpipe

Starting to Get Obsessed
Feb 25, 2015
148
6
We have a nice shop here in Phoenix called Ye Olde Pipe & Tobacco Shoppe. I like to pop by from time to time on my lunch hour. You can sometimes find an older tin that has some age on it. Either they get overlooked or they weren't stocked properly and have stayed on the bottom of the pile. Recently scored some 2011 British Woods, 2014 Blackwoods Flake, and some 2013 Navigator.
I'll occasionally buy an estate but most of my purchases are normally done online.

 

cosmicbobo

Part of the Furniture Now
May 11, 2017
657
0
Cosmic - It's the same with Liquor. Liquor stores are lucky to make a buck or two a bottle over cost. A restaurant often pays more than we would pay because, by law, he has to buy it from a licensed distributor. So when people complain about high bar prices there are reasons for that, too.

 

deathmetal

Lifer
Jul 21, 2015
7,715
27
But, that B&M tobacconist is paying the exact same price as we do to get that inventory, plus, taxes. So, when we see $20, $25, $30 for a tin, that is NOT gouging. He has to pay mortgage/rent, utilities (and commercial utilities are rated at two to three times that of residential), and they have to pay employees, and themself. Most likely, the B&M is not making a dime of profit.
...We live in a world that wants to put every storefront out of business. Every business's wholesaler is also cutting the throat of their main street connection in favor of bleeding the retailers dry online. It's not the retailer's fault. And, who can blame the online vendors.
I have to second this. Were I a leader, my position would be that online shopping is going to obliterate stores unless we drop tobacco taxes and lower other costs of doing business. For example:
Liquor stores are lucky to make a buck or two a bottle over cost. A restaurant often pays more than we would pay because, by law, he has to buy it from a licensed distributor. So when people complain about high bar prices there are reasons for that, too.
These laws are helping no one.
“Everything the State says is a lie, and everything it has it has stolen.”

 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
10,462
11,398
If one has the moneys to support local business, that's good. If one is relegated to the internet to save money, well, that's a horse of a different color. "Big Box" stores pay local taxes, support local non-profits, and employ your neighbors. They may in fact pay large property taxes because of their footprint, pay more in inventory taxes, and employ more local residents, putting more moneys into the local economy. They also generate investment opportunities for your neighbors. All and all, they most likely contribute more to the local economy than the smaller, locally owned "mom and pops."
There are logical reasons to avail oneself of all available sources for products one wishes to buy. Mom and pops often have better service but, how many people these days expect great customer service? We old farts do because we grew up with such. We rail about the loss of the personal touch even as we prowl Amazon, Walmart, Mont Blanc, on-line Irish food stores, pipe and tobacco vendors, and other internet retailers. Why? That's where the products we desire are.
With regard to liquor stores, haw many of us live where such stores are state owned and operated?

 

cosmicbobo

Part of the Furniture Now
May 11, 2017
657
0
What's funny is when I tried to get some mom and pop butcher stores to deliver a 300$ order they declined, yet if you bought the 50$ meat package they put together you could get it delivered. Back when I was getting around I don't know of any mom and pop that would refuse a nice order like that.

Since then a delivery service broke into the area that gives me my pick of large grocers to choose from.

So, I am for using whatever you can.

Government's idea of evening things out is to not drop B&M taxes but to tax the Net purchases. We doomed

Note to everyone: Enjoy all B&M's while you can.

 

J. Mayo

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jul 18, 2012
234
2
Texas
I wish I had a local place to buy from but there's nothing in my part of the world. The only local tobacco shop is very much a cigar shop. I was in the area and stopped by a few weeks ago, it had been years since I'd been in. I wanted to see if perhaps their pipe and pipe tobacco inventory had changed at all. I was directed to a glass case in the corner of the shop that housed about 5 Dr. Grabow pipes and a two whole tins (aromatic blends). They did have two bulk blends in large jars, one labelled "Jack's Blend" (I didn't smell or sample but I'd bet money it was 1Q), the other was Dunhill EMP. I considered buying all of the EMP they had but decided against it since I've recently stocked up. I figured I'd leave it for someone else, I didn't want to be selfish and wipe out their only non aromatic blend. :(

 
Nov 14, 2009
1,194
0
Flowery Branch, GA
Bear with me, this could be a little long...I'm not on this forum as much anymore for various and personal reasons, however, I do drop by from time to time.
I am the president of Lanier Smoker's Club in the NE Georgia area and operate the club through Facebook. It's a club that my wife and I started several years ago and let pretty much dry up when she became sick. After my wife passed last October, I found myself wanting back into the lifestyle and rebuilding the friendships we've made.
In December, I met up with a friend, who is also the cigar lounge owner of Smokers Embassy in Braselton, GA, to discuss the possibilities of meeting at his location. His conditions were simple. Support the business with a minimum $10 purchase, don't bring cigars into the club, purchase from him, however, he understands that pipe tobacco would be brought in. This is a way to support and justify the use of his facility, support keeping an awesome place open and growing so that we can expand to larger groupings, parties, and special events. In January, we had our first meeting and have been going solid this whole past year. Smoker's Embassy can be found on Facebook. He has a nice humidor and a fully stocked bar.
In August, we expanded to a second meeting time and place with another B&M, known as Smitty's Tobacco in Gainesville, GA. They remodeled their store with new ownership and is looking to continue their relationship with the community of more than 20yrs in business. They expanded to serve beer and wine and can also be found on Facebook. Even though our second meeting place didn't have the same rules, and the location is smaller, we set this same rule for the club.
As a pipe and cigar smoker, I WANT these places to be successful. It might cost a little more for some things, but you're also paying for the experience of the customer service provided and the ability to talk with people who gets wood talking about pipes, tobacco, and cigars. It's nice smoking on my back porch or man-cave, etc. It's also a sweet thing being able to get away from the kids or whatever else is going on for just a few hours to smoke, chill, and have adult conversations that I cannot have with the kids. And there's nothing like the camaraderie that one builds in these settings.
Pipes and cigar retail stores are starting to make way for the next generation of the business and that's in Cigar lounge/bar setups. If you can find one with great owners/staff, grab hold and keep it alive.

 

fitzy

Lifer
Nov 13, 2012
2,937
22
NY
The B&M's near my office have no chance to compete with online as NY charges 75% tax on tobacco products. They have almost no pipe related products so if I buy anything it's a cigar.
The single B&M near my home has some pipe related goods and I buy a tin occasionally when I'm there. I'd like to buy more cigars there as they have a huge selection but they are all behind roped off counters. You need to get someone working there to fetch a cigar for you but that sucks. Hell I can't see half of what they have and I really need to pick up cigars and look at them before I choose to buy them. I assume it's that way so ingrates can't steal from them but I think that really must hinder their business.
I wish I had a better choice.

 

dunstanhillwell62

Might Stick Around
May 11, 2017
85
3
Denmark
I always buy my tobacco, pipecleaners and whatever paraphenelia I need from my local B&M. It's a simple question of using it or losing it.
When I was younger, we had 6 B&Ms on the pedestrian street alone and Pibe Dan just down a side street; all gone except The Danish Pipe Shop that moved 200 meters away last year. Now it's one of two left in the inner city of Copenhagen.
The only exception is McConnell's tobaccos, which I can get at about half price from a German webside and that I can't afford not to do.

As soon as there is money involved, my principles go out the window.
:puffy:

 

seagullplayer

Part of the Furniture Now
Jan 30, 2014
500
127
Indiana
I never buy online, that may one day change as I'm only 52.
I drove over three hours round trip for my last pipe purchase.
That was a cheap part, my wife went with me and did some "shopping" while we where in the "city". :roll:

 

mawnansmiff

Lifer
Oct 14, 2015
6,672
4,996
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
If you have a local B&M that has no smoking lounge, but is just a shop selling the odd pipe and a meagre selection of pipe tobaccos why would you mourn its demise if you have a vast selection of pipe blends available at the click of a mouse for far less outlay...plus having it delivered to your door?
It's a sad fact of modern life that our High Streets are becoming ghost towns but that's the way things are going and as far as I can tell there is no going back.
Who in their right mind is going to drive say 25 miles to their nearest B&M (and then pay parking charges) only to pay 20% more for their baccy than they can buy it online for? Yes it is sad to see these and other shops closing but people have to spend their money wisely (at least I do) so the decline will continue. Nostalgia is one thing, common sense is another.
I do not blame the owners of the shops for this sad state of affairs, I blame national governments and local councils whose greed for taxes knows no bounds.
Regards,
Jay.

 
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