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Going where the business is: St George’s shop owner rolls into Dockyard

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Churchill's, the St George's liquor and cigar emporium with a permanent location on York Street, has taken their cigars to sell to the opposite end of the Island.

That's where Bermuda's visitors are now found in the greatest numbers thanks to giant cruise ships such as Breakaway berthing there this summer.

Churchill's owner Alfonso Harris has opened a kiosk at the Bone Fish Bar & Grill opposite the ferry stop where customers are able to purchase and smoke their Cuban cigars.

Although it is not permitted to import Cuban cigars into the United States because of the Cuban embargo still in effect there, people can smoke them on shore in Bermuda and on board some of the cruise ships.

“There are lounges on a couple of the ships,” said Mr. Harris. “It's an additional service on board — or you can smoke them on shore.”

He said people do like to smoke their cigars on the beach, and encouraged people to come to Dockyard and enjoy the entertainment there while exploring the old fortifications, and smoking their Cuban cigars.

“We try to have a wide variety available, so there is plenty of choice. There are people who have never had a Cuban cigar elsewhere, so it is experience,” he said.

“We cater to all ends of the spectrum,” he said. “Americans can't get Cuban cigars in the States — so we give them a bit of knowledge, why it isn't allowed — and how to properly light them.”

Prices per cigar range from $10 to $70 and the brands on offer are Romeo Y Julieta, Montecristo, Partagas, which he cited as an ‘excellent brand,' Punch, and Cohiba — which is the most expensive at $70 a cigar.

“But all the brands offer premium cigars,” he said.

Churchill's temporary Dockyard location opened at the beginning of May and he expects to be there until the end of October — the conclusion of the cruise ship season. He is open on Monday and Thursday evenings, as well as Tuesdays and Fridays during the day.

The move to Dockyard “seems to be working,” he said, but added: “Every day is different.”

Mr Harris also will open a booth at conventions, events and parties in order to sell his wares.

He was to be seen selling cigars at a recent fundraising event at the Bermuda High School for Girls when the parent-teacher association held a Cuban Night, for example.

The lack of cruise ships in St George's and the resulting lack of customers in the old town has left Mr Harris with a sense of regret.

“I'd like to do something (like this) in St George's, but this does get us into the West End,” he said.

“I'd rather do something like this in my own town — and I do have a store in my own town.

“I'd love a hotel in St George's — or anything else — but we've come down to Dockyard to supplement things until we go back to the East End.”

East meets West: Cigar sales associate Don Ricardo Winn (left) and Churchill's proprietor Alfonso Harris, now sell cigars at Dockyard, as well as other events. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published August 28, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated August 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm)

Going where the business is: St George’s shop owner rolls into Dockyard

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