By Tad Gage
In these days of corporate anonymity, I admit I’m partial to family owned and managed businesses. My favorite smoking pipe to collect is one made by a five-generation family-run company. And there are a number of multi-generational success stories in the pipe making, tobacco store and cigar manufacturing worlds.
The Toraño family is certainly one of those family affairs. Charlie Toraño, the current president of Toraño Family Cigar Company, is the fourth generation of the family to manage this business. Jack Toraño is marketing director, and father Carlos Toraño, Sr. remains active in the company.
It all started in 1916 when Santiago Toraño emigrated from Spain to Cuba, where he became a leading leaf broker and later, a cigar leaf grower. Leaving 17 tobacco fields and facilities behind when Fidel Castro nationalized the industry in 1959, the family set up shop in the Dominican Republic, becoming one of the founders of the non-Cuban cigar industry by introducing and nurturing the mother of cigar leaf: Pilato Cubano.