With a military background and a previous career in law enforcement, becoming the owner of a smoke shop was not always the plan for Brent Obermark of Tobacco Barn located in Paducah, Kentucky. But in 1999 when Brent had his first taste of a premium cigar, he fell in love with the tobacco industry and everything about it.
Brent stumbled upon the idea of owning his own business after he discovered an auction site for tobacco online. He spent some time on the site browsing and buying cigars and one day he realized he had purchased too many at one time. So he decided to sell his extras back using the same site and ending up making a profit. This motivated him to think bigger and move into retail sales.
“I’m not a sales person per say, but I made the decision that I wanted to try retail sales,” explained Brent. And so it began.
Brent then went on to work out a deal with a few high-end liquor stores in his area where he would stock a section of their stores with tobacco products and then would he would split the profit with the store. As his passion continued to grow and when Brent realized how well he was doing in the liquor stores, he decided to branch out on his own.
In September of 2005 Brent purchased the store he currently owns. The store itself had been around since 1972, but under Brent’s new ownership it began to flourish. He made updates to the roof and parking lot, as well as bought a new digital sign. This made the shop easier to see and easier to get to, which quickly grew the customer base.
“We’ve grown leaps and bounds over the past couple years and we continue to grow every day,” says Brent.
Today the store carries just about everything that has to do with tobacco, and specializes in fine cigars. From cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smoking accessories, tobacco, and e-cigarettes to premium vapor liquids and accessories, Tobacco Barn has a well-established line of products they know their customers are looking for. Tobacco Barn tries out new brands and products as they become available to make sure they keep their inventory fresh and relevant to what the customers want.
When it comes to running the business the staff of the Paducah smoke shop puts customer service first. They care about each person that walks through the door and can help you find what you are looking for. Brent is proud to say that he and his staff are knowledgeable and well informed about every product in the store. The staff is trained to work on the floor and knowledgeable about the products carried in the store. Customers can be sure they are always working with someone who really knows their stuff when they shop at Tobacco Barn.
In addition to tobacco trends, the store keeps up to date with social media trends as well. They are on Twitter, Facebook, have a website, and even a YouTube channel. They utilize YouTube to advertise new products they will be carrying, deals the store may have and even product chats. It’s a fun way to keep customers engaged even when the doors are closed for the night and by just watching one video, it’s easy to see the passion that Brent has for his store, the industry, and his customers.
So what does the future hold for Tobacco Barn?
“I don’t really see things slowing down in the next few years,” begins Brent, “I see it all continuing to grow.” It’s not hard to see that Tobacco Barn will continue to grow over the years to come. Brent and his staff have a passion for what they do, and this keeps them driven. By focusing heavily on customer service, maintaining knowledgeable staff and carrying quality products, Brent had lead himself and his staff to success. SSA