April 25, 2024
The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan

The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan

The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan

Fans of the 90-year-old Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan consider it a timeless gem, a place that embodies a bygone era. The establishment not only permits smoking but actively encourages it, boasting a wide array of premium tobacco products, from hand-rolled cigars to luxurious cigarettes produced under the Nat Sherman brand. Over the years, this iconic shop has catered to esteemed personalities like Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, and Henny Youngman, and continues to attract chief executives, prominent politicians, and athletes today.

But alas, Nat Sherman is about to become a piece of history itself. On September 25, the store will shut its doors for the last time, announced by its owner, tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. The closure marks the end of an era, leaving a void in New York City’s retail landscape. Although Nat Sherman’s own brand of cigars, including the beloved Timeless line, will be discontinued, Altria will persist in producing and marketing Nat Sherman-branded cigarettes.

The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan
The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan

A Bid Farewell to a Beloved Landmark

In 2017, Altria Group acquired Nat Sherman from the Sherman family, and last October, the store and its cigar line were put up for sale as they no longer aligned with Altria’s core tobacco portfolio. Unfortunately, a suitable buyer could not be found in the following months, and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic further complicated the prospects of a transaction, leading to the eventual decision to close the store.

Michael Herklots, the vice president of Altria’s Nat Sherman International division, expressed his regret that the emporium, located near the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, had relied heavily on Midtown office employees, many of whom are no longer present due to changing work patterns brought on by the pandemic. He lamented that New York City would lose one of its most cherished retail names, emphasizing that Nat Sherman was synonymous with the city, much like Hermès is with Paris.

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Beyond a Transaction: The Nat Sherman Experience

The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan
The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan

While there will undoubtedly be other places to purchase cigars and tobacco products in New York City, none will replicate the unique experience offered by Nat Sherman. Visiting the store was more than a mere transaction; it was an opportunity to engage in discussions about cigar preferences with seasoned tobacconists, who boasted years, if not decades, of experience. Additionally, it served as a gathering place to chat about work, family, or anything and everything in between.

The store provided a welcoming environment, where patrons, whether famous celebrities or ordinary white- and blue-collar workers, could savor their purchased cigars in comfort. For those committed to spending at least $3,000 annually on purchases, a private downstairs lounge awaited, offering an even more exclusive retreat.

The Memories Live On

The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan
The End of an Era: Nat Sherman Townhouse in Midtown Manhattan

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian, a regular visitor to Nat Sherman, fondly reminisced about the feeling of belonging that the store exuded. The vision of Nat Sherman, the store’s founder, was realized when he established the business in 1930. Although initially a modest retail establishment in the Garment District, Nat Sherman steadily evolved into a haven for premium tobacco products, eventually finding its home in the current location, adorned with an English parlor-like design, since 2007.

Many devoted Nat Sherman customers have been frequenting the establishment for as long as they can remember, forming a deep connection to the place. One such customer, Todd Feldman, aged 60, expressed his sadness at the store’s closure, particularly during a time when New York City faces multiple challenges. He made one final visit to purchase approximately $800 worth of premium cigars, a symbol of the lasting impact Nat Sherman had on its loyal patrons.

As Nat Sherman Townhouse prepares to bid farewell, its legacy as an iconic tobacco emporium and a cherished piece of New York City history will live on in the memories of all those who had the privilege of partaking in its unique and timeless experience.

Source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-citys-90-year-old-famed-tobacco-shop-to-shut-its-doors-11597185892

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