Scroll below to STORE TOUR to take a peak inside Squire Cigars (aka The Squire) for a view of the store
 

Hours of Operation

Monday - Wednesday 9:00 am 6:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am 7:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am 8:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am 6:00 pm
Sunday 12 noon 4:00 pm
SEE EVENTS PAGE FOR EXCEPTIONS

Closed on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.

Meet Linda Squires

President of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America 2003 -2005

Linda Squires
The Squire
Santa Rosa, CA

 

From Cigar Aficionado, February 1998
"Making It in a Man's World" by Shandana Durrani

Linda Squires of the Squire Tobacco Shop in Santa Rosa, California, discovered that pipe smoking would play a role in her entry into the tobacco industry. Squires grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, attended college in California and, while working at a record store in a mall in 1970, fell in love with Barney Squires, who happened to be a pipe smoker. They soon married. In 1973, the newlyweds took a trip to Europe, where they decided to visit pipe makers and retailers in Copenhagen, Denmark. The couple was so fascinated with what they encountered that upon their return to the United States, they decided to open a tobacco shop.

Armed with $3,000 and a love for the business, they rented the front foyer of an old Victorian house in Santa Rosa. The Squires only had an antique display case with enough room for about six to eight boxes of cigars. Despite the meager space and limited product availability, the tobacco shop caught on, and after just eight months, the Squires moved to a larger downtown location. Two years later, they relocated into the Coddingtown Mall. Today, they have an 800-square-foot store at a different location within the same mall. For the past 12 years Linda has operated the store because Barney has worked as a Northwest region salesman for Consolidated Cigar Corp. Linda has never doubted her career choice.

"I think that life is too short to do something that you hate. I love this business, love cigars, I love the fact that people are coming in and buying something that they take home and enjoy," she says. "They buy cigars for pleasure, for relaxation, for enjoyment-and I think that is just great. You are talking about a product that is handled with such love and care right from the beginning."

Despite the love and success, the shop wasn't immune to the downturn in the industry that preceded the current boom. While many other tobacco retailers were closing in the late 80's because of lackluster sales, the Squires were diversifying their business, adding men's gifts and accessories and even an espresso bar, when such bars were still a novelty, to the store. Keeping abreast of trends is one of the reasons that the shop has survived, Linda Squire says.

"We had our lean years. I think my good fortune is that my husband visits every shop in the Northwest and he sees what the successful people are doing. He can see people who are making mistakes, and he is my partner and mentor," she says. "He has his eyes open all the time, so we are constantly talking about the trends and what he sees people doing that have proven successful for them; this is so invaluable."

Squires hasn't had to suffer from sexism very often. She says that people in the industry have always treated her with the utmost respect, have supported her, and that she always felt very welcomed. That doesn't mean that people don't come in and want to talk to a man. But she says that her "feathers aren't ruffled on bit" when some customers assume that she doesn't know anything about the business. They don't know, for example, that she is on the board of directors of both the RTDA and TAA, a feat few women, or men, have accomplished in their careers.

The Squires have two children, Michael, 11 and Kimmy, 7. Her daughter has already started talking about doing displays for the store, but is is still much too early to tell is she wants to be the next generation, Squires says with a laugh.

Squires believes that the heightened interest in cigars is starting to slacken somewhat, noting that the store no longer sees the huge increases that it experienced the past several years. However, she says that the store is still profitable and that cigar smokers are here to stay. "I see the business continuing in spite of whatever legislation happens in the next few years," she says. "I think this trend is here to stay and the people that have fallen in love with the cigar, people who never smoked a cigar before and are smoking one or two a week, I think that antismoking legislation is not going to stop them."

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TOUR THE STORE!

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SquireCigar Tour



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Internet Links:

Retail Tobacco Dealers of America The home page

Retail Tobacco Legislation The legislative area of the RTDA.

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