Former Cigar Manufacturing unit for Sale in Tampa

By PAUL GUZZO, Tampa Bay Times

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The two-story Ybor City picket and concrete block constructing at 2708 N 18th St. is primarily referred to as a former Arturo Fuente Cigar Co. manufacturing unit.

But Carlos Fuente Jr., the third era of that household to run what’s now one of many world’s largest handmade-cigar companies, additionally remembers it for a unique enterprise.

“That’s the place my shoeshine stand was after I was a child,” the 68-year-old mentioned. “My grandfather handed me the shoeshine field and put me to work so I may earn my very own cash.”

The Fuentes offered the 7,000-square-foot constructing to the Blanco household in 1976.

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The Blancos are actually promoting it for $799,500.

Realtor Warren Foley mentioned the format stays the identical as when the Fuente household owned it, a mixture of industrial and residential.

The Fuentes rolled cigars on the primary ground. Company patriarch Arturo Fuente Sr. and spouse Cristina lived on the second.

The Blancos used the primary ground for cupboard making and transformed the second right into a six-bedroom, 2 ½-bath residence.

“The first ground nonetheless has the vaults the place the tobacco dried,” Foley mentioned.

Fuente Jr. watched his father, Carlos Fuente Sr., construct these vaults.

“He did it alongside along with his brother and uncles and folks near the household,” he mentioned. “In these days, whenever you couldn’t afford to pay anybody, household and pals didn’t allow you to down. I hope whoever buys the constructing respects its historical past.”

The historical past of Fuente cigars begins in 1912 when Arturo Fuente Sr. moved from his native Cuba to West Tampa and opened A. Fuente & Co.

The enterprise grew to greater than 500 rollers. Then, in 1924, all was misplaced in a manufacturing unit fireplace.

Arturo Fuente Sr. remained within the trade however labored with different factories for 22 years till he reestablished his enterprise below the title Arturo Fuente Cigar Co. on the 10-by-15-foot again porch of the household’s Ybor residence. Employees had been primarily family and friends. Sales had been native.

Then in 1956, Carlos Fuente Sr. took over the corporate and expanded by buying the constructing at 2708 N 18th St. It was in-built 1925 as a manufacturing unit for the Vicente Nieto and Bros. cigar firm.

“I lived in West Tampa on the time, however my grandfather’s home had been taken by the interstate,” Fuente Jr. mentioned. “So, my father turned the upstairs into a house for his mother and father.”

Carlos Fuente Sr. usually stayed there too after working late into the night time.

“So then at some point my mom grabbed two suitcases and instructed me that if my father wasn’t going to come back residence to see us, we might go to see him,” Fuente Jr. mentioned. “That constructing grew to become a second residence. Sometimes we’d keep an evening. Sometimes we’d keep per week. A whole lot of our household did. The home was all the time filled with cousins, uncles and aunts. We’d have large household meals there. They’d all sleep there. It was a lot enjoyable. It’s additionally the place I realized a piece ethic.”

Fuente Jr. was 8 when he requested his grandfather for a nickel to purchase a lollipop on the nook retailer.

“He says, ‘You need to earn your cash within the valley,’” Fuente Jr. laughed.

That’s when Arturo Fuente Sr. made him a shoeshine field and arrange a station exterior the manufacturing unit.

“We did loads of enterprise,” Fuente Jr. mentioned. “Another time, my grandfather purchased a giant block of ice and bottles of various flavors so we may promote snow cones. Another time he had me arrange a flea market. That’s how we had been raised in that constructing.”

Meanwhile, Carlos Fuente Sr. put the cigar firm on the map from that constructing.

In 1962, realizing the United States would quickly minimize off all relations with Cuba, he bought 10 years’ price of tobacco from the island nation. It is believed to be the final cargo of Cuban tobacco to the United States and outlasted competitor provides. Lovers of Cuban tobacco nationwide switched to Fuente cigars and remained prospects when tobacco from different international locations was later used.

The firm outgrew their constructing and, in 1965, bought the cigar manufacturing unit at 1603 E Sixth Ave.

In the Eighties, the Fuentes opened factories and established a tobacco farm within the Dominican Republic.

Their Sixth Avenue constructing is now the company headquarters. Their cigars are distributed within the United States by means of Ybor’s Newman Cigar Co.

“I nonetheless prefer to drive by our previous constructing,” Fuente Jr. mentioned. “It’s the place I used to be raised. It’s the place I realized to journey a motorbike. I nonetheless bear in mind the names of the neighbors and their nicknames. It is a extremely particular location.”

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