Skip to main content

Lovely Cigars making a comeback in Green Bay

New version of the historic brand popping up in Northeast Wisconsin

share arrow printer bookmark flag

September 23, 2022

NORTHEAST WISCONSIN – Cigar aficionados would tell you the history of cigar making in the Greater Green Bay area runs as deep and rich as the cigars themselves.

“There’s a rich history of cigar manufacturing in Green Bay,” Lovely Cigars President/CEO Mike Gehm said. “There’s a display at the Neville Public Museum. I began collecting that (historical) stuff over the years – I’m a nut for that kind of stuff. One of the brands prevalent here was called ‘Lovely.’”

Fueled by nostalgia and his personal interest in all things cigars, Gehm, who ran “Titletown Tobacco” about 15 years ago, said he recently worked with an attorney to bring the Lovely Cigars back.

“I also reached out to the family and had conversations with them,” he said. “The Lovely brand was stopped after the Cuban Embargo – they couldn’t get Cuban tobacco up here anymore. The designs were made in the late 1800s, and all of that was open for someone to use. After talking to the family, we were able to resurrect the original brand.”

Inspired to bring Lovely back
After finding an old news article about Lovely Cigars being sold in Bosses in Green Bay, Gehm said he reached out to the store to see if they were interested in selling them again – more than 130 years later.

“They were all on board with it – it’s a fun story,” he said. “The way tobacco laws work, we don’t sell directly to any users – we have to go through cigar shops. We wanted to maintain some exclusivity with (Bosse’s) in the Green Bay area since they first sold these cigars.”

Gehm said Lovely Cigars is focusing locally – for now.

“We’re in seven shops in Wisconsin and Illinois to try and build our brand,” he said. “We have several others who are sampling and trying them. I have high expectations for them as well.”

Bosse’s store manager Lisa Mitchell said there have been positive vibes from customers regarding the cigars.

“It’s very new, but we’ve had some good responses,” she said. “People are still learning about them. We expect to increase sales once word of mouth spreads the good news. A customer will smoke one and let others know about it.”

Mitchell said the history of the brand is also intriguing to customers.

“It’s neat because of the history – people like to buy things because of the history,” she said. “There are still people out there who want to be connected – that’s why they buy it. It’s also a good cigar – they wouldn’t come back if they didn’t like it.”

Mitchell said it makes Bosse’s feel good that Gehm respects them enough to give the store a first chance to sell their cigars.

“This history of Lovely Cigars is a neat story,” she said. “Many years ago, there used to be several cigar makers in the Green Bay area. Mike thought it would be nice – because of the history with Bosses – to sell the new version of Lovely Cigars (here). They kept the name but changed the picture. When Mike asked me if we were interested in selling them at Bosses, I said, ‘Absolutely.’


Locally, Lovely Cigars are sold in Bosse’s News & Tobacco in Green Bay, Appleton Souvenir and Cigar Co. and Hilton Appleton Paper Valley Hotel. Submitted Photo

Gehm said he has two life passions – connecting with people and tobacco.

He said his desire to bring the same joy to others that he has found in artisan tobacco products allows him to accomplish them both.
A cigar smoker himself, Gehm said big national brands have lots of options, but Lovely Cigars would be considered a smaller tobacco manufacturer.

“We have a full flavor cigar, but it’s not overly strong,” he said. “People can sit down and have our cigar and not feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I did that.’ We’re aiming to give people a good experience.”

Gehm said Lovely Cigars works with a blender from Nicaragua to source the different tobaccos.

“I was supposed to go to Nicaragua, but then COVID-19 hit,” he said. “It’s been a work in progress – getting the right blend, flavor profile and correct strength. I’m making sure it’s the right product instead of trying to simply get something out the door.”

He said the cigars are rolled in Nicaragua, imported here and shipped to businesses.

Gehm said he serves as Lovely Cigars’ president and CEO, while his business partner Keith Archiquette serves as vice president and digital assets manager.

He said the pair have high hopes for the revamped cigar brand.

“The sky’s the limit for cigar prices,” he said. “A premium handmade cigar costs anywhere from about $8 to $15 – that’s not a cheapo. You can get cheapos for $2 or $3. Our MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) is $11.”

To learn more about Lovely Cigars, visit

share arrow printer bookmark flag

Trending View All Trending