Last Thursday, Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, TN, hosted Litto Gomez, founder and owner of La Flor Dominicana. This was an event I was anticipating for three years...seriously, the first year I was a customer at Burns, manager Matt Allen told me he was expecting Litto to be visiting that fall...then it became the next spring...then the next fall...and so on and so on. Turns out Litto visited the shop about 10 years ago, the resulting sales were...well, "less than encouraging" would be a kind way to describe it. After a decade of building the brand into one of the premier lines in the industry and acquiring a dedicated group of fans, the reception last week was very, very good.
I got a few minutes to sit down with Litto to talk about how he got started, how the business has grown and what he has planned for this year's IPCPR show. Later in the evening, the owner of Burns...and the Chattanooga Billiards Club that Burns is part of...challenged Litto to a game of pool. Phil Windham did start the business as a "billiards" club and is rumored to be a "pretty decent" player, so I thought the outcome would be a no-brainer. In a "Best to 3 Race" Phil won the first game, Litto won the next two, then Phil came back to win the final two games to win Litto's hat. Litto signed it for him: "7-12-12...Today Phil kicked my ass at the pool table. Litto"