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this way,” he says. “And that’s Four Seasons with more

kindness. We are high-end and elegant but with warm

sensibility. We treat everyone equally, from a contractor

with dirt under his nails to someone in a four-figure suit.”

Lounge of the Future?

What does the Lone Wolf lounge of the future look like

and how will it evolve? Weiss notices that real estate is

shifting to more experience-driven retail, something that

already fits perfectly with the Lone Wolf concept.

“We are here to offer more experience and [a] desti-

nation, not just things for sale, which is why I like lounges

—there is more to do than just buy something,” he says.

“They have an incentive to purchase, yes, but ultimately

we offer a great, comfortable, luxurious space.”

Moving forward from a conceptual level, “we would

love to offer additional and great pairings with alcohol

and food, where legal,” notes Weiss. “We can’t do it in

L.A., but where we can, we want to do culinary elements

and spirits, beer and wine. The great part about cigars

is the celebration behind them—deal signings, a child’s

birth, weddings—I would like to provide spaces for that.”

Weiss sees great cigars, dark chocolate, fine chees-

es and spirits in Lone Wolf lounges of the future. “We

would like to see municipalities allow people to congre-

gate in this fashion, getting smokers away from common

areas of the buildings, taking them out of the shadows

and making the feel free and comfortable. I have chil-

dren and elderly parents, and I’m opposed to smoking in

their faces; I want cigar sanctuaries.”

That’s why Weiss believes strongly in helping the new

legislative approach and not fighting against it. He also

believes in supporting the green trend and more. “I’m

a dad with two little kids, and I feel passionate about

protecting our liberties and freedoms. But I’m just as

passionate about those who don’t want cigar smoke in

their lives. If we don’t protect non-smokers, we lose our

rights. You have to really care about your neighbors, and

that’s why I stopped the [on-premise] smoking in Santa

Monica—it was the right thing to do.”

A Grandfathered Manufacturer

From a manufacturing perspective, “we’re a grandfa-

thered brand, which puts us on a very fortunate list,”

says Weiss. “We were established in the mid-’90s, which

is why we can expand from a regulation standpoint—it

means we have an easier time with the accreditation pro-

cess with the FDA. We have history and pedigree; now

it’s time to scale up.”

By scaling up, Weiss means he is entertaining the idea

of “strategic alliances with other great cigar people.

It’s tough to say now, but we’re talking to a few differ-

ent players about joining together for different aspects,

wholesale primarily.”

Regarding the FDA’s intervention in the cigar busi-

ness, Lone Wolf intends to “stay focused and follow the

rules, whatever they are,” according to Weiss. As a com-

pany, “we’ve already been through a lot of struggles:

Proposition 10 in California, the raising of our taxes,

the death of the cigar fad, the 9/11 market bubble, the

housing crisis—there were and will be a lot of difficult

times, but the lone wolf survives and thrives.”


David Weiss



Buying the Lone Wolf

Cigar Company in 2000,

after working there for

three years at the rate

of $8 per hour, was “one

of those serendipitous

situations,” says the re-

established company’s

leader, David Weiss. “A

job turned into an opportu-

nity. I leveraged every-

thing I had and bought it.”

Weiss connected with

the cigar camaraderie

and the brand. “I loved

the one-on-one part of

the business, I loved the

business, and I loved the

people. After a few years

of working there, I realized

it fit perfectly with

my personality.”

Weiss maintains he is

really “in the hospitali-

ty business; my conduit

is cigars. Getting paid is

part of life, but the reward

comes from making

people happy.”

In his high school years,

Weiss worked as a waiter.

“It’s where I get my hos-

pitality and people skills

from,” he says.

He’s so invested in his

service to others that

Weiss doubts he will

ever retire. “Retirement

is death to me,” he tells

Tobacco Business

. “So if

I can see this to the end,

my goal is to open up in

places I hope to visit. I’d

love to have locations that

are culturally interesting

but where our hospitality

makes it more reason to

go there.”