We had the good fortune of connecting with David Haddad and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, what’s the most important think you’ve done for your children?
By owning and developing a new business/industry, demonstrating to my children the value of self reliance, self determination and charting your own course will have many ups and downs, creative requirements and delayed gratification. These are the qualities that build humility, grace and determination and ultimately, Pride in your work/self. Learning early by witnessing our work ethic, the children will see the importance of keeping your head down, working hard and wise. The children will learn that desperation, above all else, is the most valuable of motivators. In building a company from scratch, finding a niche in an industry that has hundreds of years of history, making an impact on your clients that is original and completes what they are doing better than they can accomplish on their own, is true job/life security and very hard for others to duplicate. This is the grounding that comes from pushing the rock up the hill instead of trying to ride the rock down the hill and will serve them in many ways better than any other, in life, relationships and work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
After a long and curvaceous career of running, owning and developing restaurants/hotels and resorts, graduating from the top university in Hospitality, UNIVERSITY OF DENVER, I came to Phoenix/Scottsdale to start on my own again. In a catastrophe of a legal battle with partners I had no business being partnered with, I took a beating financially, lost everything. In the ashes of the legal battle, in the summer of 1995, while I was bleeding profusely from legal fees, I took the cigar humidors we had at the club, which we had custom made to look and be great, to several high end daily fee golf courses, during a boom in the cigar business. I was unable to afford my golf habit. I offered them a chance to have great cigars, in a wonderful humidor built to display properly, all on consignment, if they agreed to me playing golf when I wanted and I would bill them on usage/consumption at the end of the month and guarantee compliance for the state tax laws. Their guests were clamoring for cigars, they had no way to get them that did not include them going to a cigar store, being at the mercy of the cigar store people, having no experts on their staff, guessing what their guests would want. I offered to be their expert. I was an expert in hospitality, but had to learn the cigar industry…so, I faked it till I acquired the skills/knowledge! I had personal sales skills, personality and the hard work ethic required to build it, learn it, grow it. In 6 months I had 20 accounts, which surprised me, so, I went to one of Phoenix/Scottsdale’s most famous resorts, the Phoenician, and asked to see their cigar selections, they had none. I realized I had found a whole in the industry I knew, the hospitality business, at the highest levels. I became a rolls royce dealer vs a used car seller overnight. After 25 years, we now have over 400 venues in 35 markets nationally, there was no other solutions available, I figured out how to create delivery systems, checks and balances, inventory flow, financial management to scale the company, borrowed tons of money from the SBA, family and anywhere I could to grow the business as fast as possible, before anyone else or any other company could crack the code. What I actually invented was a way to turn a cost base for resorts into a profit center, with no investment on their part, I would be an investor in their success vs a traditional vendor, keeping me in charge of the program and them in profits with no risk or cost load. We could feature rare and hard to find products that they property would not buy, but, since it was consignment, I could feature them at high rates and capture sales emotionally driven. We would maximize the revenue streams for both us and the resort. So, even though we were more expensive than EVERY OTHER OPTION, we offered the chance for them to make a lot more, risk nothing and have much better products, rare products, consistent on premise service. This all led to us doing cigar events for major corporations and weddings, after I invested in operations in the Dominican Republic, I learned the entire industry from inside out, studied the history, craftsmanship and construction, art form of rolling, became a writer and promoter. Currently we do over 450 events a year, scaling from 25 people to 750,000 at the Phoenix Open (21 years), 400,000 people at Barrett Jackson Collector Car auction (25 years), The Masters (10 years). I bought commercial real estate in 2006 and developed a one of a kind Prohibition Era speak easy with a front of a cigar store, hidden lounge behind a cabinet that moves, full retail operations with the club lounge. We now have offices in Florida, Texas and So. California that assist in all operations in their geographic regions. I established a non profit foundation called FRIENDS OF FREEDOM, to benefit military families, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a board member of the USO, delivering over 1.2 million cigars to the troops serving during the war for over 18 yrs.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many obvious places to take a friend in Az: Sedona, Grand Canyon, Oak Creek, Tubing on the Salt River, Taliesin West. I prefer to show people some of our great service members. I happen to be fully accessed at LUKE AFB so, I would take them on a base tour and show off the new F-35 Panther! Maybe the Airplane grave yard at Davis Monithan in Tucson. For Dinner: probably some cool place like the Tapatio Cliffs Different Point of View, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess for La Hacienda restaurant, Lons at the Hermosa Inn.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife, may she rest in peace. Judy Haddad, my bride of 22 years, passed away from colon cancer April 14th 2020. It was her support and hard work that kept us organized and compliant. It was her faith in my ability that gave me the power and ambition to make this work. Her tolerance of living a life of work, travel and long hard days that gave me the incentive to be better, win at all costs, provide for our children.
Linkedin: David Haddad
Facebook: Fumar Cigars or David Haddad