Knowing how many boxes to start with can seem like the ultimate question when you're getting started. While the answer depends on many variables, hopefully this article will help at least guide you in the right direction. Let us answer this question by addressing each type of business that carries cigars...
Small business and cigars are small part of your business:
If you're a small neighborhood liquor store or convenience store you're probably thinking you want to start off small - and that's ok! To make it simple, 12 boxes of cigars makes for the perfect starter selection (hint: read this short article to find out why 12 boxes is the magical number that always yields the greatest success.) It's a small investment, the humidor itself looks attractive and is easily spotted from around your store, and there is exactly the correct amount of inventory to make sure you always have something to suit everyone's tastes. It's really a no-brainer selection.
Cigars are a more prominent part of your business: Mid-Large liquor store, hotel/resort, smoke shop, etc
Now you need to appeal to a more serious caliber of cigar buyer - the aficionado. These people know their stuff, respect a nice selection, and will become a loyal customer if your selection looks right. First of all, you need the right brands. That's our specialty and we will help you with that - so you're not alone! Second, you need the right amount. A small countertop humidor won't cut it because it looks too amateurish. Loyal cigar customers only become loyal when if you pass their test of looking like a respectable cigar establishment. Having too few cigars on display will fail that test. You will want to have a floor display humidor like the Barbatus. That humidor holds anywhere from 20-35 boxes and is a good start if you want to look respectable but cigars are not your primary product.
If you're ready to go beyond that then you can go for a double door commercial display humidor like the Bermuda. It holds around 40-80 boxes and your sales can easily be 2-3 times that of a smaller humidor. A larger selection simply attracts a larger crowd of customers and makes them that much more loyal. But most importantly, having that larger selection gives each customer a good reason to come back to try new cigars.
Cigars are you primary product: Cigar shop, cigar bar, etc.
At this point you will need at least 2 of the Bermuda humidors, or you may want to just build out a walk-in humidor. Read this article for more info about that. If cigars are you primary product then you need to be prepared to look like it too. You can't cheat your way into impressing discerning cigar aficionados. Even a small cigar store will carry 50 boxes of cigars (and that is a truly small cigar store). Whereas the average cigar store will carry around 200 boxes. And a larger cigar store will have over 400 boxes. You can always start with 100 and slowly work your way up if finances are an issue.
How many cigars can I fit on shelves? And how much money should I budget for?
Here's an easy way to determine your cigar budget and how many can fit on your shelves. It's actually quite easy to do the math. First, you'll just need to know the approximate dimensions of your display area. All you need to know is that average width of a box of cigars is 6 inches. This way you can determine how many can fit across easily. The average depth is 7 inches. That way if your shelves are around 14 inches or more deep, then you can actually double your inventory by displaying one box in front of the other. You would just simple tear the lid off the box in the front. This is great because you can always start small by only starting with 1 box deep and then slowly expanding your inventory by going 2 boxes deep.
Now that's how you impress those cigar aficionados!