Lifestyle

Whidbey Island lawyer turns attention to premium cigars

Photos by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times Tom and Marlene Pacher of Freeland will open Whidbey Premium Cigar & Pipe April 1 on State Highway 20 in Oak Harbor. Pacher will keep his  law license but will focus his energies now on the new store. A worsening back condition prompted the move.  - Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Photos by Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times Tom and Marlene Pacher of Freeland will open Whidbey Premium Cigar & Pipe April 1 on State Highway 20 in Oak Harbor. Pacher will keep his law license but will focus his energies now on the new store. A worsening back condition prompted the move.
— image credit: Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

After 25 years of defending clients in a court of law, Tom Pacher’s body and mind needed a break.

One day, he turned to his wife and suggested an idea that was literally right before his eyes.

Why not open a cigar shop?

Pacher had become somewhat of a cigar aficionado over the years, visiting shops during travels to South Florida and conventions in Pennsylvania.

He wound up collecting thousands of cigars, most through online orders, bought humidors to store them and purchased other items such as paintings, cigar boxes and old signs that reflected his passion.

A worsening back condition led him to look for more forgiving ways to spend his days than standing for long periods of time in court.

The stress of serving as primary appointed counsel on several high-profile criminal cases and others in Island County over the past several years also took a toll.

“My body thinks it’s 100-years-old,” said Pacher, who’s 50.

Pacher spoke with his wife Marlene in November about making a significant career change and that conversation led to a new premium cigar and pipe shop that will be opening in Oak Harbor next month.

Whidbey Premium Cigar & Pipe will open April 1 at the site of the former Kits Camera store near Safeway on Highway 20.

Pacher’s passion, research and difficulty finding premium cigars on Whidbey Island led him to believe the business would be a success in Oak Harbor.

“You have to go to the mainland to find a store like this,” he said. “It’s an old-fashioned pipe and cigar store.”

The store will carry a wide range of cigars, humidors to store them and an assortment of pipes.

Although the store will offer some accessories for those who smoke electronic cigarettes, all other products will be tobacco related.

There will be no marijuana pipes or other accessories.

“That’s not a knock on anybody with marijuana,” Pacher said. “It’s just nothing we’re interested in getting involved in. I don’t want to scare off customers. I’d like there to be somewhere men and women of the base could go to safely and not have their commanding officers worry about them.

“All of our cards are on the table. It’s tobacco.”

Pacher is amazed over the quality of cigars being made these days. His selection will include Graycliff, Don Pepin and Nick Perdomo and will range from cigars under $2 to those that will sell for more than $20.

He also will be selling, refurbishing and repairing pipes.

He believes the time is right for a premium cigar and pipe shop in Oak Harbor. He’s been watching cigar trends, noticing far improved quality at reasonable prices.

It wasn’t the easiest sell at first to convince his wife of 18 years that this was the right move, but she got on board and has worked tirelessly to catalogue their immense inventory to prepare for the opening.

Pacher, who will retain his law license, said it’s been a tedious job to comply with all of the laws involving the sale of tobacco products.

But he believes it will all be worth it.

“Twenty years ago, there was a big cigar boom,” Pacher said.

“It was volume back then. Now it’s just amazing quality stuff being made out there. It’s blue collar. It’s white collar. I’ve been talking with groups from doctors, plummers, truck drivers to attorneys. It crosses all lines or barriers. It’s really nice to sit and chat with folks about cigars.”

“It’s going to be a lot less stressful than the work I’ve been doing.”

 

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