Elvis Baez's Journey from Car Sales to Cigar Lounge with a Magnificent View of New York

Elvis Baez is the son of a family who migrated from the Dominican Republic to Union City, New Jersey in early 1970’s. After getting education from Memorial High School, he pursued courses at Bergen Community College, furthering his education. His first professional job was in car sales. After gaining about five years of experience in the industry, he transitioned into album production in 1996. Along with his two brothers, he rented a studio and produced albums under the name LR Records from 1996 to 2004. Elvis developed a fondness for cigars at the age of 18. It was also the year when his first child was born. His father used to smoke cigarettes, so Elvis asked him not to smoke cigarettes around his son. His father respected his decision and quit smoking cigarettes around his grandchild, but Elvis’s brother introduced him to cigars instead. He recalls, "I asked my father not to smoke around my son, but I ended up starting cigars myself."

Coming from the Dominican Republic, known as the world's cigar capital, it was inevitable for Elvis's path to cross with cigars. In 2015, he opened his first cigar lounge, named Havana on the Hudson, right after the exit of the Lincoln Tunnel in Weehawken. The venue initially belonged to a friend of his. Unfortunately, his friend passed away, and his brother asked Elvis if he wanted to take over the place, but he accepted. Elvis had experience in the business world and thought it would be an easy endeavor. He had plenty of acquaintances and connections. While the place is known as a spot frequented by men, it also attracts numerous female customers. As Elvis says, "It is a men's world but nothing without women."

His lease at the previous location was expired. Elvis thought it was time to move up different location. Two of his friends mentioned a newly completed building across from the ferry terminal connecting New Jersey to New York. Elvis transformed the ground floor of a building with a stunning view of New York into a cigar lounge. He shares, "If you're succeeding somewhere, you need to take the next step. Maybe the next step for me would be a rooftop." Havana on the Hudson unveiled its new location in August 2021, offering a stunning view of New York City. Currently, there are approximately seven cigar lounges in Bergen County, with Havana on the Hudson boasting the most extravagant view of New York.

The venue is open to regular customers from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm and extends its services to members after 11:00 pm. Members can access the lounge using a facial recognition system, and there are currently 54 members. The membership is sold at an annual rate, offering a 10% discount on cigars. Havana on the Hudson offers 40 different cigar brands for sale. Additionally, the lounge organizes monthly cigar nights for women. Sometimes, customers from New York choose to take the ferry to New Jersey to enjoy their cigars at Havana on the Hudson.

Elvis plans to expand his current lounge to 4,500 square feet within the next five years. He confidently states, "It will be the most beautiful cigar lounge in the state."

Elvis currently enjoys three cigars per day. Jason, a cigar sales representative of Ashton, has known Elvis for approximately eight years. Jason describes his relationship with Elvis as that of a family member. Among all the lounges, he says Havana on the Hudson holds a special place.

Elvis Baez's journey from a car salesperson to a successful cigar lounge owner is nothing short of remarkable. From his humble beginnings as an immigrant child to the thriving entrepreneur he is today, Elvis's story is an inspiration to all. With its magnificent view of the New York skyline, Havana on the Hudson stands as a testament to Elvis's vision and dedication. As he looks to the future, Elvis's plans to expand his lounge promise even greater heights for this remarkable establishment.

Last modified onMonday, 14 August 2023 06:38