Longtime Thompson owner Robert Franzblau, 93, dies

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Robert Franzblau, circa 2002. He made Thompson Cigar Co. one of the largest mail-order cigar companies in the United States.

The savvy businessman who saved the Thompson Cigar catalog company has passed away. Robert Franzblau, 93, died yesterday morning at his home in Tampa, Florida. Franzblau was best known in the industry for purchasing Thompson Cigar Co. in 1960 and turning the struggling business into one of the largest mail-order cigar operations in the country.

When he bought the company, Thompson was making figurados wrapped in natural materials, which was of no interest to the American market at the time. Rather than making cigars, Franzblau shifted Thompson’s focus by contracting companies such as JC Newman Cigar Co. (then known as M&N) and others to make cigars for him, especially cigars. candela, extremely popular green smokes. The move turned out to be a success and Thompson grew up. Franzblau had no experience in the cigar industry, nor was he a smoker, but he was savvy enough to know the first rule of business: give the customer what he wants.

“He was the first person to really succeed in the mail order business and was a pioneer, an innovator,” said Eric Newman of JC Newman Cigar Co. “And a lot of people have copied him. Bob n was not a smoker but that’s a plus because you buy what your customers like, not what you As. He had a real passion for the profession.

Franzblau made Thompson a huge player in the online and catalog retail world, and it was one of the leading cigar retailers, such a powerhouse that the tobacco giant Scandinavian Tobacco Group bought the company in 2018 for $ 62 million in cash.

Robert Franzblau is survived by his daughter, Alix Franzblau, his son-in-law Ron Sherman; her son and daughter-in-law, Carlo and Beth; and three grandchildren, Max, Olivia and Ethan.

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