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Zander-Greg’s New Expansion Program Spotlights Nat Cicco Value-Priced Cigars

     “When Nat Cicco’s Churchill and Robusto Rejects appeared in 1965,” explains Arthur Berberian, president of tobacco distributor Zander-Greg, Inc., “they were the original cigars to create the idea of bargain-priced, hand-rolled cigars on the ‘factory rejects’ theme.

They were hardly rejects, however, being filled with extra-select medium-length picadura (tobacco remnants) ... including Cameroon, Connecticut, Honduran and Dominican ... from some of America’s most prestigious and sought-after premium cigars.  But, around 2002, financial problems with the brands’ previous  owner stifled sales for Nat Cicco cigars.  The Rejects soon disappeared, and competitors began filling the demand with machine-bunched, hand-rolled cigars.  Son, their “factory seconds,” “factory throw-outs” and other names began to capitalize on what has become a major target market ... economy-minded smokers.  This development  has sparked a fresh impetus by Zander-Greg to rebuild Nat Cicco’s market presence and acceptance.

     “In 2007, we bought the entire Nat Cicco product line,” states Berberian, “seeing promise in these superlative-quality, value-priced cigars, knowing they had enjoyed a loyal customer following.  Without emphasizing Churchill and Robusto Rejects, their sales still doubled in the three years since.  With today’s difficult economy, we’ve now moved Nat Cicco cigars to center stage in our portfolio.  Previous Nat Cicco retailers and smokers are showing excitement at seeing Nat Cicco cigars return to the market.  This is especially true of Churchill and Robusto Rejects, along with Nat Cicco’s also-popular Jamaican Rounds.”  It is worth noting that the cigars still contain the same, top-quality tobaccos from the same manufacturer, without cutting any corners.

     Zander-Greg is now recapturing those customers, with a newly-launched, ambitious marketing thrust.  Advertisements in tobacco publications feature Churchill and Robusto Rejects.  New artwork for bands, packaging and promotional material is in process, and in-store sales aids are now available.

     While focusing on the Rejects, Zander-Greg is also offering all other Nat Cicco cigars. With all fitting into a very attractive suggested retail pricing of only 90¢ to $1.40 (plus taxes).  Like the Rejects and Jamaican Rounds, all are machine-bunched, with the filler mentioned above, a homogenized binder and hand-rolled, extra-select-quality natural tobacco wrapper.  Churchill and Robusto Rejects are available in three wrapper shades ... claro, natural and maduro ... in boxes of 50.  Jamaican Rounds, also presented in 50-count boxes, come in four shapes, in natural and maduro wrappers.  Plaza, a different blend from the same premium tobaccos, is a single-sized offering, in claro, natural, maduro, and Aromatic.  Aromatic is offered in natural and maduro, and has a hint of sweetness, but contains no flavoring agents.  They are boxed in 50s, as well.  Governor, their “It’s a Boy/Girl” brad, is available in one shape and a natural wrapper, packaged 25 to a box.

     Nat Cicco’s namesake was National Cigar Company, Inc., its now-defunct manufacturer.  Decades past, someone added the extra “c” in the company’s anagram, perhaps suggesting an Italian persona , for a decades-old ad campaign.

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