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Last New York Cigar Maker to Close

September 12, 1986

KINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) _ The days of widespread cigar-smoking have gone up in smoke, so the only cigar manufacturer in New York state is shutting its factory this month after 63 years of business.

″Smoking has become an old-fashioned habit,″ said Ralph Danger, the former general manager of J.B. Back & Co. ″It’s a terrible thing.″

Three workers wrapped the company’s last cigars on Tuesday. A few employees will remain to finish shipping the custom-made cigars, company officials said. Sixty-five jobs, mostly held by women, will be lost at the plant.

Wally Frank, president of a Queens-based firm that owns the cigar factory, said it was closed because of the declining demand for tobacco.

″There’s been a gradual decline for the last 15 years, but it has accelerated in the last four or five,″ he told the Kingston Freeman. ″Many cigar factories are closing at this point.″

Frank’s firm, Wally Frank, Ltd., purchased the factory in 1969. The firm owns snuff and chewing tobacco companies throughout the country.

The cigar company’s sales have declined from more than $1 million eight years ago to $750,000 before the management announced the closing on June 28. The rolling machines shut down in August.

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