Focus on Business : Bo’s Cigar Lounge finds success with a personal touch

bo-cigar.jpgWhen stepping inside Bo’s Cigar Lounge customers are greeted almost immediately by owner and host, Bo Mouissat. Most people soon realize that they have arrived at a special and unique place.
Mouissat had long dreamed of opening his own business to pursue his passion for cigars and create the kind of atmosphere and customer service that he claims he often found missing at other stores.
Before he opened his lounge, Mouissat was retired. He took time off to travel and pursue his passions, not the least of which is his love of cigars. As he traveled, he was struck by what he perceived was the lack of personalized service and individualized attention to customers.
In May 2006, Bo’s Cigar Lounge became a reality when he turned a used textbook store into his home away from home. It didn’t take long for other people to notice.
“During our construction we set up tables and chairs, and my first customers smoked cigars in front of the shop,” Mouissat says with a smile. “We had as many or more customers before we officially opened than did many of our competitors.”
Mouissat attributes his first customers as playing an important role in the development of his business, which he claims gave them a true sense of ownership. “My customers had input about the furniture, the placement of the televisions, the cigars we stocked…everything.”
While the majority of Mouissat’s customers are local, many travel long distances, coming from locations such as West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, to enjoy their love of cigars and the camaraderie of the lounge. Mouissat likens his business to the “Cheers” of cigar lounges.
Upon entering the lounge, guests walk in to a room resembling an old English private smoking club with wood paneling, leather chairs and burgundy colored walls. Against that backdrop, are more modern features, including the four big screen televisions and the extensive collection of sports memorabilia, including signed jerseys, footballs and pictures.
Visitors also have a wide variety of choices at Bo’s. It not only sells premium cigars, but also an extensive line of cigar accessories including humidors, cigar cutters, hats, t-shirts, magazines and more.
The lounge also plays host to business meetings, bible study groups and other special events. Bo’s features a NFL Sunday Ticket football package and all the major sporting events. There is even a television inside the bathroom so fans don’t miss a second of the action.
Bo’s Cigar Lounge is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Mouissat is quick to note, however, that those hours are extremely flexible. “If my customers are enjoying themselves, watching a movie or sporting event, or simply talking, we stay open.”
Stay open he does. Bo’s is also open on all major holidays. As his daughter and business partner Mimi notes, “Holidays have become special times here. Our customers with no family or family members out of town now have a place to gather on these special occasions.”
Bo’s Cigar Lounge is located at 4501 East Carson Street in Long Beach. For further information, call (562) 429-5600 or visit www.boknowscigars.com.

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