BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Did you know there's a 6,000 square foot cigar store on Pass Road in Biloxi? Those who run The Cigar Shop say they recently opened the specialty store in the middle of a recession because they're counting on the resurgence of interest in tasting hand-rolled cigars, just like connoisseurs do with fine wine.
But they say it is what you can't see from the street that's really bringing folks in.
"There are so many people that pass us up because they don't imagine such a huge place and they go, 'That couldn't have been it.' And then they turn around and say, 'That was it," Craig Carpenter said.
Once inside The Cigar Shop, you immediately feel the warm atmosphere customers like Anthony Murphy say they come here for.
"Nice camaraderie. We talk about cigars, we talk about football, get to watch a game, enjoy a smoke. It's the best thing in the world," Murphy said.
But you may be wondering how in the world Biloxi, Mississippi can support a 6,000 square foot cigar store. The owners say the answer is behind a tinted, glass door that requires a special key to enter. They call the private smoking lounge the "Brotherhood of the Leaf."
Carpenter said it's a man cave all the way with Rat Pack music playing, oversized leather chairs, ashtrays and a 120-inch screen greeting you 24-7, all year long.
"They can sit down, watch whatever they want to watch," Carpenter said. "They have their own lockers, single cup coffee maker, refrigerator, ice maker, dishwasher, everything. A full kitchen. It is their home away from home."
And Carpenter said it's not just for men to enjoy.
"There's a lot of women that come in and smoke. We've got boutique cigars that women like that are very mild. We've got some flavored cigars that women like, so it's not just for men."
Huge smoke eating machines help clear the air making this "place to unwind" and meet new friends so appealing.
"Everybody I've ever met here is perfect, couldn't be any nicer," Murphy said. "We always have a blast. There's nothing better."