J.C. Newman Cigar Company has just promoted Kara Guagliardo – formerly Director of Marketing & Community Engagement – to Executive Director of Hospitality and Community Engagement. Guagliardo joined the marketing department in the Spring of 2010 as PR/Marketing Coordinator and now leads the team that welcomes visitors to Tampa’s historic El Reloj facility. According to fourth generation owner, Drew Newman, more than 10,000 visitors made their way through the factory in just the last year alone. “As the last large cigar factory still operating in the United States, it is our privilege to continue the centuries-old tradition of American cigar making and share it with people from around the world,” shares Newman.
For anyone not aware of what a typical day looks like at El Reloj, there is a museum with three levels, a theatre, daily tours of the factory, a factory store, weekly rolling classes in the same spot where The American is rolled, and any number of event bookings like weddings and company outings. An audio tour and blending classes are also currently in development, all which is overseen by the Executive Director. As J.C. Newman’s physical footprint expands, so too will Kara’s project portfolio and team. Along with a new hotel, restaurant, and cigar lounge in the planning stages, the company just broke ground on Cigar Worker’s Park and is currently in the process of restoring the historic Sanchez y Haya Real Estate Company building across the street from the 112-year-old factory.
“We were inspired by the many wineries, distilleries, and breweries around the country that have become tourist destinations,” said Guagliardo. “After realizing that nothing similar for cigars existed in the United States, we knew that our 112-year-old El Reloj cigar factory would be the perfect destination for visitors to experience America’s cigar heritage.” Kara is also one half of the hosting duo that brings you the She Smokes Too podcast, along with Monica Foster.