When Ismail Houmani opened his first cigar store in 1996, he didn’t smoke cigars. He just wanted in on the action. “In 1996, the cigar business was booming,” he says, so he opened his first La Casa de la Habana in Plymouth. “After I opened the store, I fell in love with cigars.”
“La Casa de la Habana” is Spanish for “The House of Havana.” While the store doesn’t actually carry Cuban cigars, it did well enough that Houmani, forty-one, opened a second location in Toledo a few years later. In November he was expecting to open his third store on Jackson Road in front of the Studio 16 theaters by the end of the month.
Cigars range from $5 to $25 apiece, and Houmani also carries accessories like desktop humidors, cigar cutters, and an array of stylish lighters that carry labels like Lotus, Bugatti, and Lamborghini (under license from the carmakers) and range from $50 all the way up to $4,000. Folks who can afford that may also be interested in the private cigar club that shares the store’s space—for $100 a month, he’ll register your thumbprint on the biometric scanner that unlocks the massive, eight-foot-tall oak door. “I really wanted to open something special for cigar smokers only,” Houmani says, “where members can come in, sit down, relax, and smoke cigars without being bothered by anyone and without bothering anyone else.”
La Casa de la Habana, 3780 Jackson Road, suite A (in front of Quality 16 Theaters), 929–4382. Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–8 p.m. lacasadelahabana.com
[Originally published in December, 2008.]
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