Feb 11, 2020
BATAVIA — There’s a hole in the wall on Liberty Street, one that, sandwiched up against an industrial wholesaler, proves unassuming at first glance.
But once you swing open its doors and step inside, there are a swath of friendly faces ready to welcome you into their ranks, cigars and lighters at the ready, leather chairs prime for sitting, darts sailing through the air and NASCAR — or something like it — blinking across the large-screen TV.
“This has been a dream of mine, oh, probably forever,” Major Stash Cigar owner Doug Palmer said during Saturday’s grand opening celebration, an event meant to honor Palmer, his dream, and the official entrance of what may very well be Batavia’s first veteran-owned cigar shop and lounge. “I had talked about doing this for a long time — actually, I opened up a shop out of my house in 2012 ...”
Cigars had long been a passion of his, Palmer explained, and so he’d decided to make a business of selling some of the finest he could find. But with a day job that took him away from home more often than not, a house-based cigar shop just didn’t prove feasible. And after only a year in business, he’d decided it was time to close up shop.
“I had people still calling me up, looking for cigars,” Palmer explained. “So I knew there was a market for this. It just became a matter of actually doing it.”
And in the fall of 2019, “it” is just what he did, transforming a vacant 1,600-square-foot space into a premiere destination for cigar enthusiasts.
The space, complete with wood paneling, brick facades and an ornate pool table, opened unofficially in November, and has been building up a reputation among regulars ever since. Ask anyone who frequents the establishment, Palmer says — Major Stash Cigar is a place to kick your feet up with friends, to trade war stories with fellow veterans and to puff off some of the finest cigars available.
“Our guests really like coming in spending that time over a cigar,” Palmer said. “And it’s not just for men — we have lots of young ladies and women who will come in and chat while their husbands, boyfriends smoke.”
Sure, it may be a little hazy, but “nothing like you’d expect from a cigar shop,” Palmer assures.
He’s acquired a special ventilation system, one that helps keep the air clean, and the environment free from too much smoke — a point of interest for the few dozen men, women, friends and family who rallied on Saturday during the celebration.
The shop offers cutters, lighters and cigars that “range in all different sizes, shapes, and intensity,” along with free wifi, coffee and tea to all guests.
Additionally, personal lockers are available for a fee, allowing patrons the opportunity to store their own alcohol (the shop has a BYOB policy), a glass and any pre-purchased cigars — “that way, when they come in, they can just open up and not even have to worry,” Palmer’s wife, Christa, explained.
In the future, Palmer plans to expand the lounge into an adjacent space — one he hopes to fill with more seating and a golf simulator, he said. But for now, he’s content, he said — and glad for all who came to support his big day.
“It is kind of nice to have a lot of people here,” Palmer mused. “I know lot everybody is here to smoke, but I’m glad they came out”
Major Stash Cigar, located at 60 Liberty St., is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop is closed Tuesday and Wednesday.