The cigar industry has lost one of its icons with the passing of Carlos Fuente Sr., former president of Tampa’s Arturo Fuente Cigar, Co., one of the biggest hand-made cigar businesses operating today.

Over the course of many decades, Fuentes led the company to worldwide acclaim after taking over for his father Arturo Fuentes in 1958. Business began picking up after the 1960s embargo on Cuba, when cigar smokers were forced to to shop around elsewhere for fine cigars. But the the origins of the company can be traced back to 1912, when Arturo Fuentes immigrated to Tampa from Cuba to open up the first A. Fuente & Co. factory.

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By the 1920s Arturo had grown the business to 500 employees, but just as it started gaining momentum, a fire burned down the cigar factory in 1924. The family business was shuttered until 1946, when Arturo set out once again to make cigars. This time, he started on the back porch of his Tampa home. This is where Carlos Fuente Sr. learned the cigar trade, rolling 50 cigars each day after school.

Carlos Fuentes Sr., who passed away at 81 after battling stomach cancer, developed a passion for fine cigars and a strong work ethic that helped him lead the business to worldwide success.

“I never cared about being the largest cigar manufacturer,” he once said. “I always cared to be the best.”

At Custom Tobacco, we take the same pride and care in our cigars, offering a wide range of fine cigars, and variety of quality cigar wrappers, tobacco blends, and labels that Carlos Fuentes Sr. would be proud of.

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