Finding Family at Amadiz Cigars

Oct 20, 2023 | Behind the Business

As you enter Amadiz Cigars, a light lingering smell of cigar smoke wafts through the air, and the sweet sounds of light jazz sail along with it.  A family feeling permeates the air as well, because, owners Humberto and Gladis Amadiz will tell you, all who visit this 15-year-old City Island business are family.

Family portrait (left to right): brother Arismendy, dad Rafael, mother Minerva, and Humberto

“These are my parents, and that’s my brother,” Humberto explains, pointing to the figures in the large framed family photograph hanging by the shop’s entrance. The photo was taken in 2011 at the shop, when his father, Rafael, turned 70. Humberto is in the picture as well, along with his mother, Minerva, and brother Arismendy.

Humberto’s father, who passed away in 2018, started a cigar factory in the Dominican Republic in 1959.  His brother still manages the business there.

“I grew up in this business,” Humberto explains. “I know it.  It is comfortable and comforting.”

Offers Gladis: “He knows all about it, from the very seed going into the ground.”

Cigars from the family’s factory – the Amadiz brand – are sold at the shop, along with others. Humberto and wife Gladis will give you an education about those cigars, as well as cigar history and lore.

For example, did you know how the band around cigars developed?  Gladis recounts the legend that dates back to royalty and nobles who created the band so as not to transmit cigar stains to fancy clothing. “One of their wives invented it,” she says.  Today, cigar bands are personalized to the type of cigar, or sometimes to special events.

In explaining the types of cigars on hand, Humberto rattles off the list and characteristics of the stock inside Amadiz, which includes cigars from Nicaragua, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as Connecticut and Pennsylvania.  His personal favorite: Chacabana.  Gladis likes the cigar named after her brother-in-law, Arismendy.  “It’s a light smoke,” she says.

“Many customers visit often, sometimes daily,” Humberto notes. “I know them, know what they smoke.”  Many of the regulars have a locker there – a humidor where they can keep their cigars.

(left to right) Humberto, Gladis and Diony.

While the couple does not live on the island, they love City Island and having a shop here “by the water, peaceful, safe.”   Diony Pichardo (known as Gordo), who works at Amadiz, does live on City Island.  “Everyone knows him,” Gladis smiles.

The shop is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 AM to 10 PM, and from 11 AM to Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. There are also special events like BBQs on Father’s Day and Labor Day in the store’s backyard.  “But we don’t run those outdoor events late, respecting our neighbors,” Humberto says.

They’ve also had “Tuesday Fun Days” where the family orders from local restaurants to serve free of charge to their guests, while they play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes and such.  And they have done off-site shows, where they do cigar rolling demonstrations.

Celebrating 28 years married this year, Humberto and Gladis have five children – some have worked at the store – and four grandchildren.

“Had a bad day?” asks Humberto, with a grin. “Smoke a cigar!”

No matter the type of day, this is one shop that’s worth a stop when you’re on City Island.  There’s a family here waiting to greet you.

June 2024
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