TBQ: This Start-up Investor Follows His Passions

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 159 views 

One of the Arkansas entrepreneurs we single out in our latest edition of Talk Business Quarterly is Michael Peace, an angel investor who has a passion for cigars.

Peace opened Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge, an upscale establishment in downtown Little Rock’s resurgent Main Street corridor, to feed his cigar  aficionado’s passion.

From TBQ contributing writer Eric Francis’ story:

Peace, who is part of the Fund for Arkansas’ Future, knows he’s not alone in that passion because Little Rock has a large and diverse cigar community. And he feels that community needs someplace to get together and share that passion – hence his plan for Maduro.

Named for a specific type of cigar wrapper leaf, the lounge isn’t some inhospitable smoky lair full of stogie-chomping curmudgeons. No, says Peace, his aim is to make it a laid back place for both cigar aficionados and nonsmokers alike, where anyone is welcome to step inside, have a drink and, if they wish, a smoke, and maybe learn a little something about cigars.

“Cigars are produced by families whose parents and grandparents did it in Cuba,” Peace explained. “For the past 20 years or so, really the best cigars have come from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Honduras because that’s where those families packed up and moved to because they could trade with the U.S.”

And they took with them the strains of tobacco that had made Cuban cigars so famous, he added. Peace is setting up accounts with many of those families to supply Maduro with their cigars, and he hopes to eventually bring some of the producers to town for in-store cigar rolling demonstrations and other special events.

The lounge, has a capacity of about 50, which includes comfortable furniture and a relaxed atmosphere. Peace installed air scrubbers for the benefit of smoking and nonsmoking customers alike.  He expects his clientele to run the gamut, from young up-and-coming entrepreneurs to middle-aged golfers, from the sales floor to the executive suite, and women as well as men. The appeal of cigars, he said, long ago surpassed the old stereotypes – and much like wine, you can enjoy a good smoke without breaking the bank.

Read more about this 31-year old investor’s personal start-up, other start-ups he’s helped launch, and the road to Peace’s career path, which is an interesting one. Click here to access.