Thank you for our first
twenty twenty-ONE amazing years!
For those of you who were able to attend our 20th Anniversary celebration, we thank you for your support. You also know that I tried to give
a speech but emotions got in the way. So I decided to share the hard copy with you . . .
We would like to thank everyone for attending our 20th Anniversary celebration. It means the world to us to celebrate this milestone with you. Our journey began in 1997 when Daddy Jim and my brother Ben established the Humidour Cigar Shoppe in a modest 800 square foot space in Padonia Village Shopping Center located on Padonia Road -- with four lounge chairs, a 19” TV, and a small walk-in humidor. Just prior to opening, Ben’s wife became terminally ill, and Ben was needed at home to take care of her and their two young children. I was asked to help temporarily but most of you know what happened to the “temporary” help!
Throughout the years, our shoppe hosted many cigar events in the parking lot under a tent. We would start a trend in the industry by hosting large events with catered food, servers, and incredible cigar specials. We even brought in master cigar rollers, which was a first for many of you to see.
In 2000 while attending the cigar trade show, I was introduced to Chris through our local cigar representative. A love began and within three years I would marry my best friend and true love.
By 2004, I was asked to join the board of directors for the cigar industry. I would become the youngest person to ever join the board, and another journey would begin for me and for the shoppe(not even I knew it would continue for the next 14+ years).
In 2006, we began to work side-by-side with our fellow tobacconists in Maryland to help fight off the numerous challenges in Annapolis. Maryland State Representatives were constantly introducing smoking bans, tobacco tax increases, and display restrictions. These fights would continue, year after year after year!
In October of 2007, we were forced to move from our original location. We were so excited to find a “free-standing” location at 10721 York Road. On the morning of our move, before the sun started to rise, cars and trucks rolled up to help us with the move to the new location. A bond was forever formed between our family and our customers. It was a very emotional moment for my entire family – we were so blessed to have these incredible people in their lives.
In August of 2008, came the formation of Club Ashton, located on the second floor of our York Road building. The vision behind the concept was Chris; it was one of the first branded private member lounges in the country. At the opening party, hosted with Ashton, we would enroll 65 charter members – a complete sell-out.
In April of 2011, Chris and I were blessed with the birth of our daughter, Carmella Domenica Helmuth. She would and continues to forever change our lives!
In 2012, my family was overwhelmed by a gift from our customers – a brand new 55” Plasma Television for our first floor lounge. It was a way for the customers to say thank you for the very existence of the shoppe, known to many of us as the “Cheers” of cigars – “where everybody knows your name”. Bonds and lifetime friendships continued to form with my family and our customers.
In 2013, we were forced to relocate our shoppe again on a very short notice. With the help of God, we acquired our current location at 2 Sherwood Road. We had ten weeks to complete the move. Chris and my cousin Andy made all the improvements, while our extended family (our customers) volunteered countless hours in painting, landscaping, cleaning, and moving. On May 31st, we opened our doors and were truly overwhelmed by the support of both old and new customers. On July 21st, we also celebrated a milestone for my parents – Daddy Jim and Mama P. survived 50 years of marriage with their six children and twenty grandchildren. Of course, a Big Fat Greek Anniversary party was held in their honor because they truly are an amazing couple!
Over the last few years, many of you know that Daddy Jim had a few health setbacks and we received an outpouring of love, support, and prayers from our Humidour Family – many even stopping by the hospital. Thank goodness, Daddy Jim always comes back to torture you, our customers.
Last year, I had major surgery and did not return for 6 months. I was so blessed to have Chris to step up and take charge of the shoppe with the help of our incredible employees!
I have told you about just a few of milestones for our shoppe. Over the years, we have laughed so hard it hurt, we have cried over the ones we have lost, and we have yelled about all the regulations the Federal and State governments continue to place on us. But in the end, we call this place our home and we hope you do too. We would not be here without you and we are so grateful for your support and love over the years. Here’s to 20 more years!