A Concise History of the Smokin’ Samoan
Nate began his career as a tobacconist when he went to work for a mad Kazakhstani who was the equivalent of a grand master of cigars. For two years, Nate apprenticed at the Kazakhstani’s feet, where he learned the ins and outs of the product & the industry. Since the Kazakhstani loved everything about cigars, Nate also picked up this love. But the Kazakhstani also introduced Nate to the culture of cigars, which is not the same thing as knowing about cigars. The latter is a profession; the former, a philosophy of being, or perhaps belonging.
What is this culture? Perhaps it’s best contained in the idea that a number of individuals, from all walks, and all backgrounds, can come together in a welcoming environment and set aside their differences in the interests of a greater ideal. This ideal isn’t cigars. That is a rallying cry; it serves the same purpose as a flag. The ideal is camaraderie—that you can be yourself in the company of others without the worry of being judged for your background, ethnicity, job or whatever. For the mad Kazakhstani—and an American Samoan like Nate, a giant of a man in all respects—that sense of belonging meant everything.
So a few years passed and Nate was now a tobacconist, an inveterate cigar smoker, and expert in facilitating the culture of cigars at the mad Kazakhstani’s shop (a shop which included a smoking lounge among other amenities).
An Idea Was Born
One day Nate found himself sitting across the counter from another cigar smoker. They drank coffee and played chess, and between moves, the man asked Nate what he would do if he were given the opportunity to own and run a cigar shop. Nate didn’t waste a moment. He outlined his vision for such a shop and emphasized the culture of the cigar smoker, explaining that his shop would not emphasize cigars, but camaraderie. The man paused thoughtfully, then said, “Let’s do it.” He owned a building, he said. He was looking for something to do with it. He said he thought Nate’s vision for a cigar shop sounded just right. And thus Badger’s Cigar Den was formed.
Over the next months they worked hard to turn Nate’s vision into reality, and when Badger’s Cigar Den opened its doors on a Friday night in October, Nate had created the destination of destinations for the cigar smoker: Personal humidors. HD-TV and an excellent sound system. Free coffee and soft drinks. A fine, beautifully appointed lounge open to all smokers. And a number of other amenities the cigar smoker cannot do without. Most important, Nate had realized his vision and created an environment where people could congregate and talk about everything and nothing, where they could smoke in silence if they so desired, and where they didn’t feel the pressures of an outside world dictating who and what they should be. A culture hadn’t been born—it had been given a home.
"Why Badger's Cigar Den?"
People have since asked Nate, “Why ‘Badger’s Cigar Den?’ Why not ‘Olde Saratoga Cigar Shoppe’ or some such thing?” So Nate explained: “As a child I was fascinated by badgers in literature, especially the badger characters in the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. These badgers always had a strong sense of purpose. If there was a badger around, other characters felt safer and they looked to the badger for strength and security; characters rallied around them. With Badger’s Cigar Den, I wanted to recreate this sense of strength and security. And by selecting the word “Den,” which is where a badger lives, I wanted to further enhance this sense by, literally, bringing people right into the badger’s home. And really, that is it.”
And now, Nate welcomes you to Badger’s Cigar Den.