Tampa cigar factory, El Reloj turns 111 years old on Wednesday, and in celebration of the milestone, J.C. Newman Cigar Company will provide tours of the newly renovated factory while offering some 1910 cigar prices.
J.C. Newman purchased El Reloj in 1954 and continues to roll cigars on-site.
Also, beginning at 10 a.m.,some local luminaries will be reading to J.C. Newman’s cigar rollers. Called lectors, these readers served as entertainers for cigar rollers in older days to alleviate boredom from the sometimes-repetitive work of cigar rolling. Lectors read from a variety of sources that included classic literature but also expanded into political pieces. Lectors were banned in 1931 after being blamed for inciting workers to strike.
The honorary lectors will include Patrick Mantiega, publisher of Tampa-based weekly newspaper La Gaceta, which was founded by Manteiga’s grandfather, a lector in Tampa cigar factories, and Richard Gonzmart, fourth generation owner of Columbia restaurants, a Tampa-based string of Spanish eateries.
Visitors who make a purchase at J.C. Newman’s factory store will be able to buy a special “El Reloj” cigar for the 1910 price of 5 cents.
“When El Reloj opened in 1910, the Tampa Tribune described it as the ‘largest and finest cigar factory in the world,’” Drew Newman, a fourth-generation owner of J.C. Newman, said in a statement. “After spending two years restoring El Reloj and opening a new cigar museum, we are very excited to share the factory’s 111th birthday with the community.”
El Reloj now includes a three-level cigar museum, interactive theater, hand rolling cigar room, private events space, and factory store.
To learn more about the schedule of events on March 31 or reserve a tour slot, please visit: https://www.jcnewman.com/el-reloj-turns-111/.