Mike's Catalog is the hottest men’s accessory website, created by the founders of America’s premiere cigar shop, Mike’s Cigars. One of the oldest Distributors in the United States, Mike’s has been serving consumers worldwide since 1950. After 45 years in their original location on Arthur Godfrey Road, Mike's moved to its current location in 1995.
THE HISTORY OF MIKE’S
Mike’s was founded by Mike Mersel in 1950, decades before cigars became the domain of the common man. Mersel first sold socks and other goods from a pushcart in New York City on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1930s. To escape the northern winters, Mersel and Brother Albert “Ossie” relocated to South Florida where they began building their iconic outfit in some unlikely places.
For two years, the Mersel brothers sold hot dogs and peanuts in Flamingo Park. Next, they opened Mike’s News and Sundries on West Avenue and 17th Street in the early 1940s until they both were drafted to serve in World War II. After the war, the brothers reopened the business in Miami Beach, selling cigars at a time when few such shops existed.
When Mike’s was opened, George Mikan was leading the Minneapolis Lakers to the championship of a young league called the National Basketball Association. Mike’s was selling mostly Cubans until the U.S. embargo was imposed by President Kennedy in 1963, after Fidel Castro overtook Havana and nationalized the cigar industry in Cuba.
Following the U.S. embargo, Mike’s became a distributor for the General Cigar Corporation, the biggest domestic manufacturer at the time. 1971 was a milestone year for Mike’s, as they transitioned from a focus on walk-in customers and wholesale, starting a catalog mail order service to expand their reach to consumers worldwide.
That same year Mike’s began licensing their private brands which include Licenciados, Bauza, 898 Collection, Chevere, Old Fashioned, Mike’s 1950, and more. After three decades Mike’s became a distributor for all cigar companies, at that point Mike recruited Oscar Boruchin, a Cuban born immigrant, to grow the company from a local storefront to a first-class international operation.
By 1980, Miami Beach’s demographics began to change. Boruchin began to scale Mike’s with a coffee bar and cigar accessories boutique featuring cigar humidors and upscale accessories.
In 1993, Cigar Aficionado magazine awarded Mike’s private label cigar, the Licenciados Toro, a 93 rating, the highest rating ever given to a non-Cuban cigar until that point! With the rapid growth of the industry, Mike’s was able to leverage their longstanding connections to grow to new heights and quickly outgrew their facility.
The growing business dictated Mike’s move to its new and much larger building, with a large cigar lounge and boutique. The new shop allowed them to add an extensive cigar accessory inventory, with cutters, lighters, cases, ashtrays and humidors imported from France, Italy, and Spain boldly on display.
Operating from their new landmark building, Mike’s began to sell more than 30 million cigars sold a 7year. Despite being offered a very impressive Wall Street IPO in 1998, Mike’s decided to stay private to maintain the family owned business that they had always been. This decision proved to be fortuitous when anti-smoke trends a few years later forced other public U.S. cigar corporations to privatize.
1998 is also the year that Mike’s launched their very first website, entering in the foray of e-commerce and quickly growing to become a leader in the industry.
In 2010 Oscar Boruchin retired appointing Oded Ben Arie as Mike’s President and CEO. Under the new management Mike’s introduced its current website shipping more than a thousand packages a day to all corners of the globe.
Mike’s Mega store is a magnet to consumers and, with inventory of more than ten million cigars, it is one of the largest facilities of its kind. The lounge grew to incorporate a full feature cigar bar, with big screen TV’s, multiple walk in humidors, party space, and relaxing areas to have a drink and smoke a cigar in comfort. Many cigar bars have come and gone, but Mike’s lives on as one of the largest cigars stores in America.
Looking to branch out of the world of tobacco, Mike’s launched the Mike’s Catalog site in 2012. Mikescatalog.com gave them a space to cell cigar accessories, as well as other luxury men gifts and products.