Advertisement
  1. Business

New owner to lay off 112 and close Tampa's Thompson Cigar outlet store and distribution center

Until 2016, Thompson Cigars sent free cigars to American troops abroad for nearly a century. (Times file photo)
Published Mar. 26

TAMPA — The new owner of Thompson Cigar is closing the 104-year-old company's outlet store and distribution center just north of Tampa International Airport and will lay off 112 workers as it consolidates operations to Bethlehem, Pa.

Scandanavian Tobacco Group, a Danish company that bought Thompson Cigar a year ago for $62 million, announced the plan in a layoff notice to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Friday.

Job eliminations are scheduled to begin on June 29 with the layoff of 82 employees and continue in phases through Dec. 31. The jobs to be eliminated at the Tampa store, located at 5401 Hangar Court, just off Hoover Boulevard, north of W Hillsborough Avenue, include retail and warehouse operations, information technology developers and analysts, and human resources and administrative staff.

Founded in 1915 in Key West, Thompson Cigar has a 15,000-cubic-foot humidor at its outlet store and booked sales of $100 million a year before Scandanavian Tobacco bought it. Until 2016, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tightened federal rules affecting cigars, it was known for donating cigars to American troops overseas — a practice that began in World War I. Founder M.A. Thompson moved the company to Ybor City in 1920 after a hurricane destroyed most of the cigar factories in Key West. In 1929, the company acquired Postal Permit No. 1 in Tampa and within a few years Thompson shipments accounted for a quarter of the city's postal receipts.

"A Tampa institution in a city that used to produce more cigars than anyplace else in the world," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said of Thompson Cigar at a celebration of its centennial anniversary in 2015. "That is our history. That is in our DNA. That is something that we should celebrate every day."

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. [Getty Images] FLUXFACTORY  |  Getty Images
    Under the circumstances spelled out here, the advice columnist says Mom has few desirable options.
  2. Dusty Hill (left) and Billy Gibbons (right) from ZZ Top perform prior to Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the St. Pete Times Forum in 2010. A ZZ Top concert in 2018 was the subject of a scathing Clearwater city audit of the Parks and Recreation Special Events division. KEVIN HOWE  |  Times archives
    The Parks and Recreation Department failed to keep sales receipts, invoices and other records of a 2018 concert.
  3. Dade City wants to put its planned bicycle hub in a city park near Church and Eighth streets adjoining the trailhead of the Roy Hardy Trail. The land already has been designated as the future home of a splash pad. Dade City
    A planned welcome center for cycling enthusiasts originally had been slated for a historic train depot
  4. Frances Werner-Watkins Julie Rinaldi
    News and notes on local businesses
  5. Left to right: Oak Hill Hospital Anesthesiology residents Daniel Eskander, Wayne Simmons, Jeffrey Huang and Benjamin Segil. Katie Stacy/Oak Hill Hospital
    News and notes on local businesses
  6. A total of 131 employees are scheduled to be laid off in January as Locale Market and Farm Table Cucina close at the Sundial to make way for a new food hall created by the developers of the Heights Public Market at the Armature Works in Tampa. CHRIS URSO   |   TIMES
    In a notice to the state of Florida, Sundial owner Bill Edwards said the layoffs are expected to take place the first week of January.
  7. WeWork is opening Tampa offices at 501 E Kennedy Blvd. despite company struggles, including $1.25 billion in losses over 2019. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    WeWork has 200 planned coworking space openings as leadership tries to manage $1.25 billion in losses.
  8. Florida's unemployment rate was unchanged in October at 3.2 percent, according to numbers released Friday. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    The latest numbers were released Friday morning.
  9. Apollo Global Management has offered $130 per share for Tech Data's stock in an acquisition worth $5.4 billion. If regulators shareholders approve, the home-grown company will remain based in Pinellas County, where it employs 2,000 of its 14,000 workers. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Private equity firms like Apollo create wealth for pension funds, financial institutions and individual investors by buying assets that typically are sold later at a profit.
  10. Some of Tampa Bay's largest companies are being sold or are up for sale. Times files and Bloomin' Brands
    Tech Data is just the latest in a growing list of public companies bought up by out-of-state firms.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement