“I am honored to be named vice president and general manager of El Reloj and thank Eric, Bobby, and Drew for their confidence in me and to Stanford Newman who was my first mentor,” Cooks said in a press release. “I am grateful to other cigar industry colleagues, in particular, the women in our industry whom I have learned from throughout my career. I look forward to continuing working for the Newman family in the industry that I love.”
El Reloj was built in 1910 and is located in Ybor City National Historic Landmark District. El Reloj is the last operating cigar factory in Tampa, Florida. Under Cooks’ supervision, El Reloj rolls more than 60,000 cigars per day, both by hand and with the help of hand-operated antique cigar machines from the 1930s. As part of J.C. Newman’s 125th anniversary last year, the company restored El Reloj and opened a three-level cigar museum, an interactive theater that plays old cigar films and a space to host cigar-friendly events. J.C. Newman Cigar Co. will open a rolling school where it will teach cigar enthusiasts how to roll and blend their own cigars in 2022. Guided factory tours are also offered on weekdays.
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