By Greg Wolford
Charleston is the state capital of the Mountain State, West Virginia. It is a fair amount larger than Huntington but also further away from me: about 40 minutes east on I-64. I rarely make it to the area but when I do I try to make a stop at The Squire (http://www.thesquirewv.com/). This is a nicely stocked, customer friendly tobacconist, very different from the shop in Huntington.
The Squire has an extensive selection of tinned blends ranging from the basic to the more exquisite. Their bulk selection is mainly aimed toward the aromatic smoker but they do carry some English/Balkan blends, too, and even have a few of their own blends as well. They also carry Stokkebye bulks, in addition to there, so there is plenty of variety and quality here, too.
Their pipe selection is much larger and better here, too. From Missouri Meerschaums to figural meerschaums, basket pipes to Petersons, they have a nice range of prices and selections to choose from.
Their price structure generally runs at or a tad below MSRP on both tobacco and pipes. However, they do offer a tobacco club membership for $20/year that gives you one free item with a value up to $20 the day you join and 25% off all regular priced items for a year, making the club a no-brainer; I have a membership even though I might only visit twice a year! With the club discount The Squire’s prices are competitive with online retailers which is great: I get to support local, small business and see and touch the product I’m interested in purchasing.
The atmosphere is very casual and friendly; you are encouraged to touch anything you’d like, except for the meerschaum pipes. And the staff is friendly and knowledgeable about both the pipes and tobaccos they carry – and are familiar with ones they don’t! Their smoking lounge – yes, they have one here (one up again on the Huntington shop) – that’s large with comfortable seating and a couple of televisions to enjoy if you’re so inclined.
The only drawback to this fine shop is the distance it is from my house. But I do highly recommend checking them out if you’re in the area. As I said, I make sure I go by there anytime I’m in their neck of the woods.