A new cigar business has opened in Russell County.
Smoke Hour is owned by Jonn Stephens and Travis Stringer, and for the past few weeks, the business has been fulfilling orders through their Facebook page.
“We’ve been pretty excited to just get things started,” Stephens said. “We’ve seen a lot of support here lately, especially since we’re just beginning … We’re pretty excited to see where it goes.”
The duo had the goal of getting the business started before the Independence Day holiday weekend, which they were able to achieve with an opening day of July 1.
“We wanted to try to get it up and going and get cigars before the Fourth (of July) and see if people showed interest,” Stringer said, before a smile spread across his face. “Boy, what a weekend that one was.”
As of now, Smoke Hour fulfills their orders online and can do so in Russell County and surrounding areas, with Stringer mentioning Columbia, Greensburg, Liberty, and Somerset in particular.
But the pair has big plans for the future as well. One of their primary goals for the next step of the business is finding the perfect location for a lounge, somewhere with “a TV and a few chairs” that cigar enthusiasts can go and enjoy the hobby.
“The end goal is to have a lounge,” Stringer said. “People can come hang out, smoke a cigar here and there, and enjoy themselves. That’s the goal we’re shooting for.”
“It’s an unearthly experience,” Stephens added about cigar lounges. “It’s so much fun. And you really do lose track of time. I think the first lounge I went into, I spent three hours (there) not even trying to.”
They also believe having a lounge will fill in a gap for local cigar smokers, as Stephens cited Bowling Green and Lexington as the closest cities with a cigar lounge.
“There’s really not anything like this that’s close, so we thought we would also fill that need as well,” he said. “I mean, if we enjoy it, there has to be others out there that enjoy it.”
Another avenue they will be exploring is gauging the interest of local businesses in installing a humidor — an airtight container for keeping cigars that maintains the desired quality in both temperature and humidity — with Smoke Hour doing maintenance and resupplying the stock on a regular basis.
For now, though, their main focus is on providing south-central Kentucky with “premium cigars at an affordable cost.”
Smoke Hour has cigars that range from beginners to higher-end cigars for more experienced cigar aficionados.
For beginners, Stephens said he and Stringer are there to help in any way they can.
“I like to educate,” he said, “so if you don’t know something, don’t feel ashamed to ask because we’d love to point you in the right direction.”
And Stringer noted they’ve got long-timers covered as well.
“We can get ahold of quality cigars, and so we want people that enjoy a quality cigar to be able to do that,” he said.