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Interview With: Best Cigar Prices Chief Operating Officer Greg Fox

Recently BCP Director of Marketing Dianna Scolaro had a chance to sit down with our Chief Operating Officer Greg Fox to ask a few questions for our readers. Greg took a few minutes out of his busy day to discuss his thoughts on the future of BCP, the FDA’s proposed regulation of the cigar industry, and cigars in general.

 

Dianna: How long have you been with Best Cigar Prices?

Greg: I began working for the company 9 years ago, back when our company was located in Rosendale, N.Y. I was 19 at the time, working part-time shifts as a packer

while attending college. Within two weeks I moved into customer service, then shipping and receiving, then buying, and eventually made my way up to assistant General Manager, then General Manager. I’ve experienced just about every aspect of BestCigarPrices from the ground up, and now serve as Chief Operating Officer.

 

D: What is the most rewarding part of your position?

G: Wow, where to begin (pauses). First off, watching the company grow over these past 9 years has been very rewarding. Our logistics back then were so primitive, but our service and pricing were, and still are, what keep customers coming back. Another rewarding aspect is how working in this position keeps every day different and exciting.  One minute I’m in a creative meeting with Marketing and Web Development, the next minute it’s a financial or logistical meeting; next thing you know I’m talking to a politician about why they shouldn’t over-regulate our industry. Mixing it up like that keeps me sharp, not to mention I couldn’t imagine a more fun industry to be in. The industry as a whole: customers, manufacturers, employees, all of us… we are such a close community of individuals.

 

D: What is your favorite aspect of the cigar smoking experience?

G: I draw a parallel to a fine wine. The way that like wine, each cigar tastes so different from the next. We carry over 4,000 unique items and each of them has its own story. Hundreds of hands go into the production of every cigar, from the growers, to the blenders, to the rollers, to the marketers who create the extravagant artwork to present the products. And everyone has such different ideas about what the cigar is to them. It’s fascinating. It’s also that comforting feeling that you get when you light up your cigar and you can just sit, and reflect on the day—or maybe some days not to think about the day at all. It’s your personal time to do whatever you want. It’s the most relaxing feeling.

 

D: What is your favorite cigar?

G: (laughing) That’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is. It’s impossible to answer that question. It depends so much on what I’m eating or drinking that day, or maybe even what kind of mood I’m in. I do love a good sit down with a Prodigy by Rocky Patel. It has just enough spice for when I’m in the mood for something mellow with just a slight kick. Star Insignia is another favorite of mine. I’m also really falling in love with our newest brand, Relajado. The blend turned out fantastic, just the kind of cigar I like, rich with hints of butter and caramel.  I should mention though that I am bias — I spent many hours working with the factories and visiting places like the Dominican, in order to help create and tweak blends like Relajado to perfection.

 

D: What are your thoughts on the proposed federal regulation of premium cigars?

G: We’ve accomplished a lot so far but we have a long road ahead. I spend about 20% of my day working to protect the premium cigar industry: educating politicians via meetings and phone calls, working with competitors and manufacturers alike, helping with grass roots efforts.  My fear is that the government eventually wants prohibition of cigars and that our right to enjoy a fine cigar will be taken from us.  During the prohibition of alcohol there was more drinking and bootlegging than ever before, so we know this doesn’t work.  We need to make legislators understand that we’re selling a luxury product to adults, not kids. 14 U.S. Senators, along with 220 U.S. Congressman agreed with us and signed a bill to exempt premium cigars from federal regulation. Still, at the end of the day it’s going to take the participation of everyone, customers, businesses, and politicians to protect our freedoms. I urge anyone reading this to visit
www.BestCigarPrices.com/FDA.

 

D: What are your plans for the future of BestCigarPrices.com?

G: There are always ways to improve in every department of the business. We want to grow larger, much larger than we are now, and we will do this by beating our competition in every facet of the cigar buying experience. By getting the cigars to our customers faster and fresher, providing more pertinent information to the customer, and maintaining top notch customer service, we will get there. All while keeping a small business, ‘family operation’ atmosphere to our customers and our employees.  Also, we’re constantly working on adding new website features; we’re exploring potential retail stores in the future, as well as hosting cigar events. The rest the customers will have to see in the months to come. (we won’t give away too much, we know our competition reads this)

 

D: Is there anything else you would like to say?

G: At the end of the day, it’s everyone who works here that makes this company great and stronger with each passing day. I get to do this interview, but the spirit of the business and our success is not about me. From the warehouse, to customer service, shipping, marketing, everyone works together. Alysha, Amanda C., Amanda R., Bob, Brad, Brandie, Charlie, Dane, Dianna, Ed, Edwin, Jake, James, Jason, Jen, Jessica M., Jessica S., John, Kari, Katy, Kayle, Ken F., Ken W., Kevin, Lenny, Matt L., Meghan, Melinda, Melissa, Pete P., Pete S., Ron B., Ron W., Schuyler, Steven, Trish, Warren and Wayne. Your hard work, the hard work you all put in every day, humbles me. You are the reason we’re here, and you are the driving force that pushes us forward. Thank you.