Sisters in Solidarity: The Loc’d On Cigars Experience
October 14. 2021
TAMPA - Wearing Loc’d or DreadLoc’d hairstyles is a beautiful cultural expression. The origin of Locs dates back to the “Beginning of Womankind”….with historical recordings first making reference toward ancient civilizations of Kemit (Egypt) & India (Hindi) around 2500 BCE. To have Locs symbolizes a sense of non-conformity, communalism & spiritual intent. These emblems/values hold firm with Loc wearers Ursula Williams & Sharon Ray, who are the Founders & Owners of Loc’d On Cigars & Lounge (located @ 5551 S 78th St, Tampa, FL 33619).
Yes, they’re sisters, in-blood & in-love….and it doesn’t take long once you’re around them to notice their connection, their willingness to sacrifice all for one another & their passion for cigars…
(L/R: Ursula Williams & Sharon Ray, Owners of Loc’d On Cigars & Lounge)
”Ursula introduced me to cigars”, says Sharon. And once I experienced my first cigar & cigar lounge I was hooked! The relaxed atmosphere, the energy and the entire grown-folk vibe made me a frequent lounge visitor & inevitably made me desirous to establish my own cigar lounge”.
“Ursula was introduced to cigars by her eldest brother whom she admired while in her 20’s, “My brother was heavily into cigars, the culture & the ambiance that came along with it…Spirits, Wine, Jazz Music etc.,” says Ursula..”There’s an energy about smoking cigars that made me feel grown-up”.
In 2018, while hanging out at one of the local cigar lounges in Tampa, Sharon approached Ursula about forming their own cigar company, with an endeavor to open a cigar lounge. “Let’s do this”, Sharon said to Ursula. In the summer of 2019, Loc’d On Cigars gained legal formation. “One of the most trying times was creating & agreeing upon the branding & imagery of the company” says Ursula. I sketched out what I had envisioned which was a lady with Locs, red lipstick & red hat”. Ursula & Sharon then sought out a graphic artist to lay down the finishing touches to their vision.
Loc’d On Cigars proceeded to do private + corporate pop-ups, music & art festivals/events locally & regionally for over a year. In 2021 the sisters accomplished another objective of their current endeavor, the creation of “The Loc’d On Cigars Lounge”. “We had three goals upon entering this journey, says Sharon…1.Open a Cigar Lounge. 2. Create & manufacture our own cigar line. 3.Open another cigar lounge. One down two to go”.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect for these SOTL…as the influx of women entering the cigar market as consumers & enterprising entities are on the rise. “About 2 percent of U.S. women say they smoke cigars, which calculates out to be about 3.2 million. (In the 1980s, Cigar Aficionado reported, market research showed that women comprised of only one-tenth of one percent of the total U.S. cigar market. Men today comprise of approximately 8 percent of the US market”.
All cigar enthusiasts & novices are welcome to the lounge, says Ursula. “Our vision definitely has a special place for women who would otherwise shy away from this type of environment. We want to encourage them to find comfort coming alone, free of intimidation & open to being educated about cigars & the lifestyle. There’s not a ton of places out here that a woman feels secure attending alone”.
Situated in the heart of Progress Village, Tampa (bordering Riverview, Palm River-Clair Mel & Gibsonton), Loc’d On Cigars certainly delivers a comfortable/relaxed atmosphere, a good variety of boutique & mainstream manufactured cigars, & an inviting decor/ambiance configured to make you want to embrace it as a second home.
Quality Cigars, Great Atmosphere & Excellent Customer Service is what we offer here at Loc’d On Cigars Lounge” says Sharon. The lounge opened its’ doors officially on September 9th 2021. When asked about their first 30 days in business, there was a deep sigh from them both…”Exhilarating, Exhausting & Exciting” says Ursula.
Loc’d On Cigars Lounge is now one of four African-American owned cigar lounges in the Metro -Tampa Area. ASShouse Cigar Lounge, Maduro Marauders Cigar Lounge & Chaney Cigar Lounge make up the other three.
Loc’d On Cigars Lounge is located at:
5551 S 78th St, Tampa, FL 33619.
Hours of operation are Thursday-Monday:
For more information & online ordering/Visit Loc’d On Cigars on the web @: https://locdoncigars.com/
For lounge booking, events & mobile cigar services/call: 813.658.8338
Plumeberg Media 2021