Arturo Fuente, known for its Dominican cigars, has announced plans for a new cigar factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. It is called “Gran Fabrica de Tabacos La Bella y La Bestia.”
“I’m very grateful to Nicaragua and the people of Nicaragua. I’m back in Nicaragua. Carlito’s back,” said Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. “This factory is just putting my heart, planting my flag here in Estelí.”
Fuente Jr. said the company opted for a colonial look, opposed to a factory that looks Cuban, as a tribute to Nicaragua. He credited Manny Iriarte of being able to sketch his vision.
It will be built on a property the family acquired many years ago. The plot of land is described as roughly two and a half times that of the property of the company’s main factory in the Dominican Republic. The company plans additional buildings, such as tobacco storage and packaging, on the land in the future.
This year marks 30 years since the company’s last Nicaraguan factory was burned down during the Nicaraguan Revolution. Carlos Fuente Sr. had opened a factory in Nicaragua in the 1970s following the Cuban Revolution. That factory employed 300 people and produced 18,000 cigars.
After the factory was burned in 1978 and the loss of the company’s factory in Honduras a year later, the company decided to go to the Dominican Republic, where its cigars have been produced since 1980.
The announcement was made at the company’s farms in Estelí, which have been functioning for a handful of years now.
Fuente is finishing construction of a new Dominican factory last year, the latest in a series of construction projects in both the Dominican Republic and its home in Tampa.
Felix Mesa will oversee the new operation when it opens.
“I think of my father so much because this is my father’s dream to come back,” said Fuente. “I’m coming here with my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears because of my colleagues, my family and friends.”
He also said the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, the family’s foundation with the Newman family, will also come to Nicaragua.
Fuente Jr. told halfwheel construction would start “immediately,” though admitted there wasn’t an exact day for a groundbreaking ceremony.