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ALTON - AP Cigar Co. commemorated their new location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

Located at 202 State Street in downtown Alton, the business sells premium hand-rolled cigars from around the world. Mike Weller, owner of AP Cigar Co., explained that the shop aims to promote connections between community members while they enjoy the experience of smoking cigars.

“The best part about being here in the cigar shop isn’t smoking premium handmade cigars,” Weller said. “The best part is the communication, the conversations that we have with visitors and the locals. We don’t have any televisions in the store. What we want is folks to converse with each other. It’s an 1860s building. We want to try to have those old school values while smoking something that was made strictly by hand.”

AP Cigar Co. supplies all of the accessories needed to enjoy premium cigars. The shop opened in Rosewood Heights in 2016, but Weller always dreamed of opening a location in downtown Alton. When he had the opportunity to move to the current location in 2022, he jumped on it.

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“It’s been everything and more that I could have asked for,” Weller said.

Since the move to downtown Alton, AP Cigar Co. has welcomed more customers to their store, including many tourists. Over 70% of their customers travel at least an hour to come to the store, and this speaks to the unique nature of AP Cigar Co. as a “destination cigar shop.”

Weller believes there’s something special about the store, which encourages customers to sit down, talk and smoke together. With no TVs, liquor license or gaming, the shop is purely a location where people can lounge and enjoy cigars. Weller said this contributes to the “elevation factor” of smoking a cigar.

“If you’re mowing your grass and you’re doing it with a cigar, it’s an elevated experience,” Weller explained. “So what we want to do at AP Cigars is to elevate the community’s experience, the visitors that come to Alton, by having a cigar, by celebrating our time that we get to go and explore.”

The shop hopes to expand, with goals to transform the backroom into a walk-in humidor. For more information about AP Cigar Co., visit their official website at APCigar.Co.

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