By Hank Tester

DORAL (CBSMiami) – Small businesses across South Florida had a tough time during the pandemic, but those who got by were supported by loyal customers, including the Sabor Havana cigar shop in Doral.

The lure of a good smoke is what kept this business alive because a great cigar can be a great escape for some people.

READ MORE: ‘We're Looking For All Aspects’: Las Olas Businesses Seeking Workers

“It relaxes you. It distresses you. It takes you away from the problems that we all encounter in life,” explained Jorge Valdes from Sabor Havana Cigars.

Sabor Havana Cigar Shop (CBS4)

The cigar store dealt with the impact of the pandemic, including a brief shutdown for non-essential personnel and all of the city and county regulations. It also accepted the first round of pay roll protection funds in order to stay afloat.

The store also produced an online video to reassure attendees at a mid-pandemic lunch honoring first responders.

However, keeping cigars in stock was a pandemic challenge due to shortages in the supply chain.

“There were times there were some cigars that we regularly have got tied up with shipping because they would not be able to get into the U.S. and there were shortages,” said Valdes.

READ MORE: Weston Residents Concerned After Coyotes Spotted Roaming Neighborhoods

To combat the shortages, Sabor Havana stocked up when they could and bought in bulk whenever possible and so did its regular customers.

“If they normally bought 10 cigars, they would buy a box. If they usually bought a box, they would buy two because of the shipping and availability issue,” said Valdes.

Their big event, “Smoke This,” has been postponed twice and rescheduled twice but is now back for December 4.

They also kept the business going by offering customers private shopping events and offered curbside pickup and deliveries.

 

MORE NEWS: 'The Great Resignation': COVID Making America's Workforce Rethink Their Jobs