The Brand Cigar Club at 154 S. Brand Blvd. first opened in 2003. During its five-year run, its interior was dotted with cushy mahogany chairs and plush leather couches — a relaxed atmosphere where customers could choose from an array of U.S. and international cigars.
Business began to trickle downhill when the Americana at Brand started its lengthy construction process earlier this year. As a slew of new shops, restaurants and residential units were being built, customers avoided the cranes and road closures that accompanied construction, Williams said.
Ultimately, owner Sonny Toroyan decided to close the shop in February to plot the business’ future. For months, those walking on Brand Boulevard saw a boarded-up shop with the company’s logo emblazoned in front. Inside, Toroyan, Williams and a slew of design crews were charting the business’ return.
More than $400,000 was spent on a sleek new design that doubled the store’s floor space, now dotted with big-screen televisions, custom-built leather seats and a new humidor with 39 cigar brands from around the world.
The downturn in the economy did give store managers pause, Williams said, in deciding whether to open amid fears of a deepening recession. But Toroyan was paying $4,000 a month in rent while the shop was closed, and the Americana had opened to great fanfare and an initially high customer count.
“We had to open,” Williams said.
Meanwhile, the Glendale City Council voted to ban smoking in most public places in the city, including along Brand Boulevard and its many restaurants that line the city’s main thoroughfare.