A unique mobile cigar lounge based right here in Central Contra Costa County, CigaRV, is being extinguished after three years serving as the Bay Area's "Mobile Man Cave."
Owner Jack Grant, a Concord resident who often brought CigaRV into downtown Martinez for events, says he received a newsletter from the state Board of Equalization (BOE) in January, which included an update about a recent BOE ruling that bans mobile tobacco sellers.
According to BOE's interpretation of the California Cigarette & Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003, sellers of tobacco and cigarettes must have a retail license for each retail location, and "a 'mobile location' does not meet the definition of a retail location," the BOE newsletter explained.
Grant's license for the company could therefore not be renewed and his business smouldered to ashes.
CigaRV will likely be sold to a buyer out of state, says Grant, where tobacco laws are less rigid.
"And then I'll have to figure out what to do for a living," he added.
Grant started his "Mobile Man Cave" in the summer of 2010 after his first cigar lounge business faltered. He came up with the idea that a mobile lounge would mean lower overhead costs and greater geographic versatility. He wouldn't have to bring customers to the lounge — he could bring it to them.
The bulk of the company's income came from private events such as bachelor parties, work shindigs, birthdays, tailgate parties and wedding receptions. But CigaRV was also welcomed by some Bay Area cities at local events, including brewery nights hosted by Creek Monkey Tap House in Martinez, the Livermore 'Taste of Downtown' and the Sugartown Festival and Street Fair in Crockett.
Grant says he's enjoyed running the business, which had been "well received" everywhere it roamed.
Did you ever experience the "Mobile Man Cave"? Would you have liked to? What do you think of the ban on mobile tobacco retailers? Share your experience and opinion in the comments.