The Wall Street Journal reported the bad news.
To step into the Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan is to step back in time, say fans of the 90-year-old tobacco emporium.
It is a place where smoking isnâ€™t only allowed, but also is encouraged. The store sells all manner of high-end tobacco items, from hand-rolled cigars to premium cigarettes, including some that it produces under the Nat Sherman banner.
In days gone by, its customers included such boldface names as Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and Henny Youngman. Even now, store employees say chief executives, prominent politicians and athletes are among the regulars.
But Nat Sherman is soon to become a piece of history itself. The store, which is owned by tobacco giant Altria Group Inc., is closing Sept. 25, company officials said.
Nat Shermanâ€™s own brand of cigars, including its Timeless line, also is being discontinued. But Altria will continue to produce and market Nat Sherman-branded cigarettes, a company spokesman said.
Altria, which acquired Nat Sherman in 2017 from the Sherman family for an undisclosed price, put the store and the cigar line up for sale last October, saying the business wasnâ€™t core to its tobacco portfolio. But a deal with a buyer couldnâ€™t be completed in the months thereafter and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic served to complicate any potential transaction, store officials said.
Michael Herklots, vice president of Altriaâ€™s Nat Sherman International division, pointed to the fact that the emporium, situated near the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, saw much of its business from Midtown office employees. Now, about 90% of that customer base is no longer there, he said.
The tragedy, he added, is that the city is losing one of its most treasured retail names.
â€œWe are as authentic to New York as HermÃ¨s is to Paris,â€ he said. …
The store is a place to talk about cigar preferencesâ€”mild and creamy or full-bodied and spicyâ€”with tobacconists who have years, if not decades, of experience. Moreover, it is a place just to kibbitz in generalâ€”about your work, your family or, better yet, about nothing in particular.
The store offered customers, from those famous names to everyday white- and blue-collar workers, plenty of places to sit back and enjoy a â€œstick,â€ to use a cigar smokerâ€™s term, after they shopped. Those who wanted to commit to $3,000 in purchases a year could become members of a private downstairs lounge.
Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian is among the regulars who frequented Nat Sherman for a leisurely smoke.
â€œYou walked in and you felt like you were part of something,â€ he said.
Bit by bit, Manhattan is being destroyed. Before this perfect storm of virus and wokeness, the good places were being driven out by ever higher rents. Once you leave New York City, why would you ever come back? You have to pay an extra 4% city tax and pay $200 a month to park your car. Maybe it made sense to pay a premium to live in Manhattan when it was full of museums and art and restaurants to entertain you, but now, when itâ€™s a ghost town of closed and boarded up shops, who would pay that premium to move there? That 4% tax goes to pay bumsâ€™ rent in fancy downtown hotels ($2 million each night), DeBlasioâ€™s wifeâ€™s billion dollar mental health boondoggle that has produced nothing, $47 million for procurement software that never worked, and dozens of other wasteful ideas.
Nothing like smoking a Nat Sherman while wearing a Nat Nast shirt at a summer barbecue.
Dick the Butcher
1626 – 2020
Killed by Cuomo and DiBlasio
Been smoking Nat’s for a few decades. Highly scarce in Bay Area now. Owner of MO stock, hoping they ramp up production again soon.
Its such a shame! Piece by piece NY is losing important landmarks and we have a mayor and governor determined to ruin the city. Nat Shermans will be missed!
Greg C Bieg
Just received the sad news. It was a ritual for me to go to Nat Shermans in person to get my cigars.
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