Touring Ybor City’s Last Cigar Factory

Touring Ybor City’s Last Cigar Factory

Touring Ybor City’s Last Cigar Factory

By Bob Sanchez

In July, a small group from the Sun City Center Photo Club toured the J. C. Newman Cigar Company to see first-hand how cigars are still made in Ybor City. For the senior rate of $12 per person, company historian Holden Rasmussen served as our tour guide for about an hour to show the entire process, both for hand-made and machine-made cigars.

The building is called El Reloj, a three-story, block-long building that dates back to 1895 and is the only remaining cigar factory in Ybor City. There’s nothing modern about the process as workers either hand-roll cigars or operate antique machines that seem to operate as well today as they did a century ago. The main difference is in the workforce – an old photo from the 1920s shows a vast room filled with white men, elbow to elbow at work. What a difference a century makes!

The Newman Company promises that “this historic cigar factory will please cigar enthusiasts, history buffs, and those with interests in manufacturing and technology,” and the tour doesn’t disappoint. Photo Club member Christina Brittain said it was “amazing to witness every facet of production in this living, thriving factory/museum,” adding that the tour is “a truly memorable experience.”

The family-owned company clearly takes pride in its premium cigars and its employees. Rasmussen told us that every worker we saw on the floor has been employed there for around 20 years. Newman also has factories in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Their Cigar Family Charitable Foundation “supports low-income families in the Dominican Republic with education, health care, vocational training, and clean water.”

The cost for the tour is $15 for adults, and $12 for seniors, students, and veterans. All ages are welcome. The guide is knowledgeable, and the old factory is fascinating. By the way, there are elevators for those not inclined to climb stairs.

Visit “jcnewman.com” for their schedule and to book a guided tour.

IN THE TOP PHOTO: J. C. Newman’s company historian Holden Rasmussen talks tobacco with, from left to right, Nick Fader, Barbara Klimczak, Fran Beeson, and Christina Brittain.

FallFest October 16: Don’t miss it!

FallFest October 16: Don’t miss it!

FallFest October 16: Don’t miss it!Entertainment, Food, Art, Shopping, and a Health Fair                By Diane M. Loeffler Rain or shine, FallFest will take place on October 16. The day will begin at the gazebo with opening remarks, the flag raising, the...

Art Club Members Paint Through the Pandemic

Art Club Members Paint Through the Pandemic

Art Club Members Paint Through the PandemicBy Bob Sanchez The Sun City Center Art Club reopened its Art Gallery to the public on September 1 with the work of two dozen members, featuring paintings they created during the 2020 pandemic. The...

OCTOBER 2021 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

OCTOBER 2021 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS!

In this issue… Don’t miss FallFest on October 16, browse the Art Club’s latest creations, cruise the St. Johns River, sail on the Eagle, hit the target with a local Olympian, commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, discover some great places to...

Aquarium Releases Endangered Sea Turtles

Aquarium Releases Endangered Sea Turtles

The fruits of The Florida Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Conservation Program labor were realized with the release of five rehabbed sea turtles including two Kemp's Ridley and three greens in North Ormond Beach. After months of specialized and compassionate care,...

Alafia Brewing Company and the Queen of Beer

Alafia Brewing Company and the Queen of Beer

Alafia Brewing Company and the Queen of BeerBy Andrea L.T. Peterson Thanks to a reader recommendation, we discovered the Alafia Brewing Company in Gibsonton. When the Editor asked if I wanted to check it out, I thought: “I’ve been alcohol-free...

Touring Ybor City’s Last Cigar Factory

Touring Ybor City’s Last Cigar Factory

Touring Ybor City’s Last Cigar FactoryBy Bob Sanchez In July, a small group from the Sun City Center Photo Club toured the J. C. Newman Cigar Company to see first-hand how cigars are still made in Ybor City. For the senior rate of $12 per...