Previous Page  74 / 102 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 74 / 102 Next Page
Page Background

David Weiss


[ 70 ]







17 ]

Leveraging Longevity

With roots that date back to 1893 (see sidebar, “124

and Counting”), the Lone Wolf Cigar Company is no

stranger to rebranding and reinvention. The compa-

ny operates as a trilogy—with manufacturer, retailer

and lounge operator components. Since 2014—when

the 3,000-square-foot retail space opened in West L.A.,

housing the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge—the company

embarked on its most recent rebranding phase. Today,

it’s in a position to offer the expanded smoking space

that smokers crave.

“I remember back when I was single and we only had

the small store in Santa Monica; I would make it a point

to invite other ‘lone wolves’ to the store’s little lounge on

holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah,” recalls Weiss.

“Those of us with no friends or family nearby would

hang out and smoke cigars, and be alone together.”

The new lounge is now home to a lot more cigar

camaraderie in “upscale vintage” surroundings that

inspired a new logo and website, as well as the short- and

long-term plan for more locations of its kind under the

Lone Wolf banner.

Great Global Goal

“My plan is to expand as a great luxury brand global-

ly,” Weiss maintains. “Anywhere you go, you will be

honored as a lone wolf—that’s my goal. I would say a

combination of company stores and franchises are like-

ly in our future, with the expansion of our wholesale

and distribution operations.”

Currently, there is another facility in California under

negotiation that Weiss can’t comment on yet. He fore-

sees expanding throughout California first—ideally with

three to five new locations over the next three to five

years. “It depends on the location, but our first focus will

be on building multiple lounges,” he says. “We are also

willing to open more boutique stores.”

Design elements of the West L.A. lounge—all done

in-house, according to Weiss, who likes to get his “ama-

teur builder” hands dirty—include a dropped ceiling,

metal-welded furniture with brown leather touches, rich

green walls, vintage door closers, metal windows, vin-

tage books and an overall warehouse-district/downtown

London/New York/Chicago vibe, circa 1910. “We took

the handcrafted, squeaky-hinge approach,” he relays.

Weiss got his inspiration from pictures that he found

of the original late-1800s store, with horses and bug-

gies parked out front. “We wanted to create something

more tangible and real in our iPhone-infatuated soci-

ety,” he states.

Like many successful cigar lounge operators, Weiss is

cognizant of creating a space where cigar smokers from all

walks of life feel welcome, “from a Montana ranch crowd

to the Four Seasons world. You launch more effectively

124 and Counting

There’s good reason

why the Lone Wolf Cigar

Lounge in West L.A. fea-

tures turn-of-the-century

(20th century) decor with

modern conveniences.

The Lone Wolf Cigar

Company, based in Santa

Monica, California, dates

back to 1893, when it was

established by Sargent

E.E. Baracks as one of the

first tobacco stores/news-

stands on the West Coast.

It didn’t take on the

Lone Wolf name until

1996, when it was re-

established by cigar-loving

celebrities Chuck Norris

and James Belushi

(Norris starred in the

1983 action film “Lone

Wolf McQuade.”)

In 2000, it was re-

established once again,

by its current leader and

founder David Weiss, for-

merly of the talent agen-

cy/corporate entertain-

ment world.

Within the borders

of the historic district in

downtown Santa Monica,

the flagship LoneWolf

Cigar Boutique keeps the

1893 spirit alive, with a

high-end, vintage approach

to selling cigars. Original-

ly, this 1,000-square-foot

location had a small lounge

within. However, in 2006,

rising anti-smoking regula-

tion sentiment convinced

Weiss “to make life easier

for my landlord and neigh-

bors,” by “canning the

on-premise smoking”

and keeping it just as a

retail space.

In 2013, after a

seven-year hunt for the

“perfect lounge place,”

Weiss found the

single-tenant rustic

building in West L.A. By

late 2014, it had opened

as the 3,000-square-foot

second-store location,

housing the private Lone

Wolf Cigar Lounge.

And the Lone Wolf

won’t stop there. Plans

are to expand its lounges

within the state

and beyond.