Looking for an amazing cigar experience? Open since 1996 (first under a different name), Tobacco Grove is one of only two tobacconists in Minnesota able to acquire some of the highest quality products the industry has to offer. “We were the first ones here,” says president Rick Baker. Before many Maple Grove businesses even opened their doors in the area, and definitely before other cigar and tobacco shops, Tobacco Grove was there selling high quality products and promising the same great service they’ve offered since they opened.
However, while the quality and service is the same, Baker says “it’s a completely different store than it ever was back then.” The original owners of the shop, Jeff Haugen and Joel Rogers, have expanded and changed the name while retaining the small business feel.
Baker says he’s been a cigar enthusiast, since experiencing his first Montecristo cigar in the 90s, “at the request of my doctor, no less!”
“It’s a really cool community of guys that come in here,” he explains, adding that plenty of women are interested in their cigars and tobacco, too.
Customers are looking for the best in premium handmade or hand rolled cigars or pipe tobacco (they do not sell cigarettes, chewing tobacco or e-cigarettes). There are not many traditional tobacconist shops in the entire Midwest, and Baker is proud of their store’s unique atmosphere.
Tobacco Grove also hosts events featuring specific cigar brands, and offers samples of the tobacco at the store. Cigar enthusiasts from across the country have the opportunity to see what’s new in the industry and learn from professionals who have a passion for their work. The shop offers the largest walk-in humidor in the state, and one of the largest in the Midwest, where cigars are kept airtight at the right temperature.
“We’ve got staff with a ridiculous amount of background knowledge in cigars,” Baker adds.
Hand grown tobacco comes from all over the globe, but some of the most popular spots right now for high quality cigars are Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Haugen, Rogers and Baker have traveled all over the world to farms and factories, forming relationships with growers and sellers. They’ve gained knowledge not only of cigars and cigar etiquette, but of the retail environment as well.
And, the Tobacco Grove team feels strongly that Maple Grove is the place to be. Even though the area was small and not quite as developed in the beginning, “it was a suburb that we believed in,” Baker says. “We’re just very lucky; we have a great group of core customers, and we consider them family.”
Tobacco Grove is one of only two stores in Minnesota with a Davidoff White Label merchant certificate and the ability to sell the brand. “This gives us a unique niche, that we can sell rare and hard to find cigars,” Baker says.
Davidoff Cigar’s roots go back to Cuba; in August 1989, Zino Davidoff took his entire Cuban cigar inventory and burned it in an open field in defiance of Castro, Baker explains. Davidoff cigars now are generally from the Dominican Republic, however they do have lines that include tobacco from Nicaragua. “These cigars are a top shelf, premium cigar known for their unique flavor and high quality,” he says.
Warped cigars is one of the many boutique cigars that Tobacco Grove also carries. These cigars traditionally come from Nicaragua and some are made in Miami, Florida. Their products carry a motto: Old Traditions, New Era. “They are a smaller company but you would never know that while smoking their cigars,” Baker explains. “The flavor is outstanding and construction is fantastic.”
Rocky Patel cigars are a very well known brand that can be easily found throughout the country, but what makes them unique at Tobacco Grove is their official Rocky Patel Lounge and three unique cigars that are available only at Tobacco Grove; The Hook, The Strike and The Roundhouse.