Parker County Today April 2018 - Page 16

Continued from page 10 history.  It’s now called Micallef Cigar and the company is extremely important to Micallef. When asked what his next project is, he said, “I just want my cigar company to be really, really big,” he said. “I learned very quickly that you’ve got to run a cigar company like any other busi- ness. I’m spending about 95 percent of my time with the cigar business. My other businesses are mature. I’m dedi- cating my energy and time to growing my cigar business.” Naturally, Micallef Cigars can now be found at Silver Leaf and Pop’s Safari Room as well as fine cigar empori- ums across the nation. Last year, Micallef Cigars was awarded the top new cigar company and top boutique cigar of 2017 by Cigar & Spirits magazine. The tobacco is grown in Nicaragua and the cigars are made in Esteli, Nicaragua, but distributed from their headquarters in Weatherford that’s adjacent to JAMAK.  Out of all of his businesses, it’s his ranches and his cigar business that he finds most intriguing. He owned 20,000 head of sheep and somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 head of cattle; Micallef has been considered among the top ranchers in the country. He was once the largest importer of South African wines in the US. He is in the process of opening a fast-casual restaurant in one of the Bass Towers that will be called the 203 Café, set to open in the late spring. So many ventures but very few failures. What’s his secret?  “I have an innate curiosity,” Micallef said, modestly.  How Texan is that? haunts, the Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge. (Mrs. Micallef doesn’t like cigar smoke in her home, so Mr. Micallef does his smoking elsewhere.)  As he puffed, two men came in. Seems their SUV had broken down just outside the place.  “They wanted to sell their cigars so they could pay for their auto repair bill,” Micallef said. The general manager of The Silver Leaf Cigar Lounge let them. Micallef bought a cigar. “Their cigars were really good,” he said. The men happened to be from the Gomez Sanchez family, a clan of Cuban cigar-makers who had lost their plant in Cuba and then fled to Nicaragua. Eventually, they lost their plant in Nicaragua when the Sandinistas took over. They’d moved operations to Mexico and were threatened there. When they met Micallef, they were trying to start again in the USA. Brothers Joel and Edel Gomez Sanchez had been traveling through Texas when they experienced mechanical trouble with their SUV in downtown Fort Worth. Their family had been “lighting up” the cigar industry since back in 1934. They walked into Silver Leaf armed with cigars and they met Micallef, who was so impressed with the Gómez Sanchez brothers’ cigars that he asked them if they would make 1,000 cigars expressly for him. “They stayed here for three days because people were so nice to them,” Micallef said. “They made these great cigars, but they had no financial backing.” They quickly struck up a partnership; now he owns the company and Joel and Edel Gomez Sanchez are working under contract for him. The rest, as they say, is 14 Photo by Zach Peterson