Some call it the big wrapper crisis: A tobacco shortage for premium cigars, and Historic Ybor City is being impacted according to the owner of Tabanero Cigars.
“Everyone is buying as much tobacco as they can. They don’t know which direction that it’s going to go. So Tampa is not getting tobacco for the small guys.” said Yanko Maceda, who owns Tabanero where workers hand roll each premium cigar sold.
Maceda heard about the potential shortage, because of poor harvest in Cuba and civil unrest in Nicaragua, so he bought a years worth of tobacco for his shop.
“I have some of my colleagues here in Ybor City that already approached me. They were like Yanko, we don’t have any tobacco what can we do,” said Maceda.
Maceda explained the tobacco shortage combined with possible looming FDA regulations has small business owners that run hand-rolled cigar premium shops alarmed.
“If the FDA says yes to regulations we believe 50 percent of the cigar industry will go away so we will not be able to make cigars in Ybor,” said Maceda.
Maceda went on to explain the small business owners are working together in hopes of getting through the squeeze of the high end tobacco shortage.