The Little Cigarette Company That Could

Against all odds, Grover, North Carolina-based Cheyenne International continues to thrive in a big-tobacco dominated marketplace. Tobacco Business talks to CEO David Scott about how they do it

Cheyenne International

Cheyenne | AuraCheyenne’s well-earned reputation for overcoming adversity dates back to its origins, when four partners decided to launch a small tobacco company in 2002, a time when big players dominated and the regulatory environment seemed to be growing harsher by the day. Fourteen years later Cheyenne is going strong, but when you think about it, you just have to ask what the heck the company’s founders were thinking.

“It sounds crazy, right?” answers David Scott, CEO of Cheyenne International and one of the company’s founding members. “But sometimes crazy just has a way of working out. Cheyenne was founded by four partners in 2002 who are smart, driven and seasoned—each bringing their own area of expertise and knowledge to the table. The notion was to bring affordable, high-quality tobacco products to adult consumers and provide jobs in what was typically an economically depressed area of North Carolina. We knew we could make great products and felt we had an opportunity to be a leader as the premium-brand alternative.”

That simple premise—offering a high-quality alternative to major cigarette brands at a fair price—proved a winner, and the company has continued to build on that foundation ever
since. Cheyenne currently offers three distinct cigarette brands: Cheyenne Cigarettes, Decade Cigarettes (a value-priced brand) and Aura Cigarettes (an all-natural blend), each distinct but all of which couple quality and value.

Klondike | Cheyenne

What’s more, Cheyenne has leveraged the company’s core philosophy to expand into other tobacco product categories, notes Scott. “After the introduction of cigarettes, we subsequently entered the filtered cigar category and never looked back. Since then, we’ve expanded our offerings into a variety of profitable tobacco categories, working diligently to ensure our mission was at the heart of every product: high quality at a fair price.”