Archive for Sunday, April 9, 2006

Smokers’ haven

Lawrence cigar shop uses exception as rule

April 9, 2006


Lawrence may be a no-smoking town, but light up a cigarette in Rus Spangler's new shop at the edge of western Lawrence and the worst punishment you'll face is a give-me-a-break glare and a curt word or two.

"Um," he'll say, looking up from behind the counter, "do you really have to do that here?"

But if you're willing to upgrade to a cigar, and pay a daily fee or sign on for a membership, Spangler will escort you back to the only legal smoking hall in Lawrence: Club Centro, where visitors lounge in leather chairs, listen to vintage music and soak up the freedom to light up without a whiff of worry from the law.

As part of a retail tobacco shop, the place is exempt from a city ordinance that has snuffed out smoking in all other businesses and public gathering places in town.

"As a place for people that can't smoke at home, want to smoke somewhere inside with other people that smoke, and talk or watch some music or a golf game or something like that, it's a natural," Spangler said.

Spangler and his business partners - his brother Rich Spangler and their friend Rick Woodbridge - see plenty of opportunity in the lounge and the Centro Cigars shop that enables it.

Centro Cigars, with more than 2,000 cigars in stock, opened in January at 1520 Wakarusa Drive, in a shopping center that already is home to a sports bar and grill, a liquor store, another small bar and an upscale pet-washing shop. The center is adjacent to Brandon Woods Retirement Community, a short walk from an incoming $50 million upscale condominium project and a few solid 3-woods away from Alvamar's public and private golf courses.

Rich Spangler knew the location would work. He managed Diebels Sportsmens Gallery in Overland Park for six years before teaming with his brother, pooling financing from their father's estate and joining Woodbridge to make a go of it on their own.

"It's a college town, and it's an affluent town," Rich Spangler said. "There's a big variety of people that do live here, from students to millionaires. And it was the perfect size town to do it in."

The shop is split into three sections:

¢ A gift shop, with upscale items ranging from Surefire flashlights to Atwood knives and Cuban-style guayabera shirts.

¢ A walk-in humidor loaded with cigars ranging from Quorum Coronas for $1.30 each to the Cohiba Toro, which goes for $15. The humidity level for air inside the sealed room lingers at an optimum 70 percent.

¢ Club Centro, in the back, with polished concrete floors, leather furniture and a 50-inch high-definition TV to entertain members. But the key is the club's storage areas: 22 humidified lockers, so that members can preserve their own cigars - even Cubans - for personal use, and overhead cabinets for members to stash their own scotch, brandy, Madeira or other spirits they might like to have around.

Centro Cigars

The club's two dozen members thus far include Lew Perkins, Kansas University's athletics director, and Josh Davis, a derivatives trader who's settled in Lawrence after being displaced from Mississippi by Hurricane Katrina.

"This is absolutely top notch : and I'm amazed it's here in Lawrence," Davis said, lighting up a St. Louis Rey before settling into a lounge chair last week. "I'm glad there's an exception in the law."


lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

i wonder if the progressives will try to put a stop to this?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

If they hadn't wanted this exception, it wouldn't be in the law in the first place.

Oh, those pesky facts, eh, luny?

Isaythis 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't understand this, whats all the fuss Spangler isn't the first place that allows smoke inside. Hallmark Cards been smokeing weeks after the law started, they lit up, they still have two smoking break rooms. And boy dose it get smokey in there.

unite2revolt 12 years, 1 month ago

It figures that Lawrence fatcats have a place to drink and smoke their cigars indoors, while the poor and working class are forced outdoors to smoke their cigarettes. Maybe I should talk to my boss (one of those Lawrence millionaires) about setting up a bring your own six-pack, cigerette shop on Mass. I could get some hot chicks to walk around in miniskirts selling cigerettes to customers at tables. It would be just like a regular bar but instead of selling booze, we sell cigarettes. 5 cent Camel Tuesdays, anyone?

bugmenot 12 years, 1 month ago

Boyd those rich fatcats and their $1.30 cigars.

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

bozo, just trying to be absurd, after all the progressives are anti-business, anti-growth, and our former mayor an anti-capitalist ("gentle" anarchist). refute those facts bozo.

i already know you won't have an answer to refute what i say bozo, but go ahead and try.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

Your problem, luny, is you don't understand the difference between unsupported assertion and fact, believing that your continuous litany of the former becomes the latter merely because you type it.

RustyShackleford 12 years, 1 month ago

True, cigar smoking could be seen as an anachronistic habit of the leisure class, they being the only folks with the time and money for it. Could be, but it isn't necessarily so.

Other than the energy sector, who has been more a posterboy for corrupt corporate culture than RJR, Altria, et al? I suggest the people on this forum actually check out Centro and meet Rich and crew. They're very humble Midwestern people. Hey, a pack of cigarettes is $5, and for around that you can buy small cigars. All you lose are the chemicals! And for pocket change you can step up to a bigger cigar. This doesn't make you an instant capitalist, just a person indulging in a treat that can be enjoyed across class lines. (This is a retail outlet, and as such is accessible to the general public.)

For anyone who wishes to maintain that idea vis a vis cigar smoking, fine. But you might want to boycott other leisure activities of the wealthy and privileged like poetry, film, politics and sport.

Confrontation 12 years, 1 month ago

I love knowing the smokers have a place of their own, where they can go and kill off themselves rather than us.

RustyShackleford 12 years, 1 month ago

And not have to endure the obnoxious and self-righteous nonsmokers of the community, or stand near the chemical plants in our town.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

I say bring one of those fine cigar shops downtown. Business would be good no doubt. Just don't get to loose with the alcohol or the feds might shut them down. In the meantime go for it.

This coming from one who loves not being inundated with smoke to breathe while I drink and/or eat.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

BTW there are a few stogie tokers on the far eastside.

Baille 12 years, 1 month ago

Far east side? Eudora?

Sure those are stogies?


(Oh great. Now we will have to spend money apologizing to the people - customers - from Eudora. Maybe the mayor can issue a proclamation.)

jayhawks71 12 years, 1 month ago

lunacy, the idea behind the ban was never to make people quit smoking or any of your twists on the law. First, if restaurants and other establishments were successful at restricting smoke to ONLY an area where smokers who chose to be, there would be no need for a ban. Second, if there was a fair way of giving those who choose to work in FOOD and BEVERAGE service industries, a chance to work in FOOD and BEVERAGE service industries without being subjected to the carcinogen cocktail, there would be no need for a ban.

FOOD and BEVERAGE establishments are there for the enjoyment of everyone. They are there to provide FOOD and BEVERAGE first and atmosphere, second. However, when YOU spew your carcinogen cocktail into the air to satisfy you, the minority (by choice)--the smoker-- you have decided to make the environment yours with disregard for others. Many smokers even agree that cigarettes while eating are annoying (at least) and harmful.

There is nothing wrong with a smoking room. Provide a place for smokers, if that is your business, first and foremost to partake in their addiction.

KsTwister 12 years, 1 month ago


Everyday its ROTFLOL waiting for your whining about whiners. Thanks again :)

dream 12 years, 1 month ago

Could be illegal. Majority of revenues must be from tobacco according to the smoking commandments of Lawrence. I don't think tobacco is the majority of revenue here...

daddax98 12 years, 1 month ago

smoking is allowed at the bird and there are naked women

RustyShackleford 12 years, 1 month ago

Could someone show me a study (link, maybe) where there are health problems linked to atmospheric cigar smoke? I don't recall hearing of such a study.

Now, Orville Redenbacher, I've heard about that.

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