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Mitchell Orchant - A Phoenix Risen from the Ashtrays

- Cigar Journal

Mitchell Orchant - A Phoenix Risen from the Ashtrays

When the smoking ban was introduced in the United Kingdom in 2007, many British tobacco retailers thought it was the end. But with a lot of acumen, expertise and sheer hard work, Mitchell Orchant's cigar business has risen to even greater heights.

Orchant launched the UK's first website for selling fine cigars in 1994. He is also founder and Managing Director of C.Gars Ltd, established in 1997.

Today he is Britain's largest specialist cigar retailer with 11 state of the art shops in England and Scotland and an associate business in Dublin.

His enormous website is still the only one in the world that provides an online service for cigar lovers, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. 'We're not like a lot of cigar websites that are just shop-dropping fonts with no real knowledge of the product,' says Orchant. 'They might as well be selling fish and chips.'

In recent years, Orchant has created and successfully launched four best-selling cigar brands: Inka Secret Blend - a unique Peruvian-leafed cigar (also marketed as Inca in the United States), C.Gars (Nicaraguan), Turmeaus Seleccion (by Regius), and Orchant Seleccion (by Oliva).

His world-famous unrivalled auctions of rare and vintage cigars have been running twice a year since 2009. In 2013, he introduced annual online auctions.

"I suppose it all began when I used to swipe cigars from my father's humidor when I was a boy," says Orchant, now in his 51st year.

Quote - "If you take care of the details, the rest will take care of itself" Mitchell Orchant

"For many years, my family sold good cigars through our hotels and restaurants in central London. In the early 1990s, I was a petrol retailer and built some fabulous convenience stores that stocked a good range of Havanas. Unfortunately, I was ahead of my time and the business crashed. Then I came back, with a vengeance, with a lot of support from my father". All that single-minded dedication and hard work has paid off. Orchant's rapidly expanding cigar business has enjoyed a steady 20 percent increase in annual turnover since 2007. Remarkable, especially during a period when most UK businesses were suffering from the downturn.

The year 2015 has proven to be a boom year with an impressive 40 percent rise in sales from Orchant's shops across the UK.

"Why? I have long believed in providing the best possible service to my clients, who number well over 50,000 - and that doesn't include customers in our retail outlets," said Orchant. "All of our shops have been totally revamped and we have an ongoing training program and uniforms for all of our staff, who are now all specialists in Cigars."

Orchant is one of the world's leading experts on cigars - especially vintage - and spends over half his time out of the office every year travelling around the world to meet his clients - and also monitoring his UK outlets.

He admits to being a bit of a tyrant, albeit a fair and generous one, when he dons white gloves and checks for dust. "I learned long ago that if you take care of the details, the rest will take care of itself." It's this drive and passion for cigars and everything related that has led to Orchant taking over the mantle of Britain's ambassador for fine cigars from traditional UK merchants such as Fox and Dunhill.

Not that he is planning to rest on his laurels. Among other things, Orchant will open the UK's largest specialist cigar shop in Liverpool's prestigious L3 area this autumn.

"Turmeaus was established in 1817, and we are building on its well-deserved reputation," says Orchant. "Also my staff in Liverpool are absolutely swamped with customers and they need more space and longer opening hours."

- Cigar Journal

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