J.C. Newman is America’s oldest family-owned cigar company and the last operating cigar factory in Ybor.
For the upcoming 125th year milestone of the factory running, the Newmans want to preserve the history of Ybor’s cigar-making roots.
“This gives us the ability to tell our story and to tell Ybor’s story about why it is Cigar City. Cigars are to Tampa what wine is to Napa Valley … what Mickey Mouse is to Orlando,” said owner Eric Newman, grandson of the founder Julius Caeser Newman.
He said it was his son’s idea to create a museum within the 100,000-square-foot factory.
“My son has a vision of it attracting 1,000 people per week,” Newman said. “Walking into our factory is like walking into the past.”
The Newmans started the renovation process in the summer by building new restrooms, making the building up to code to be a public destination and moving different departments around.
During the renovation process, they discovered a hidden staircase in the building. Newman said the staircase leads down to the basement and into a vault that was used during the time when the mafia would rob cigar factories.
Take a look at some photos of the magnificent J.C. Newman Cigar Co. under construction and enjoy a video created specifically for social media that showcases footage from the renovations…