BY STEVE BIGHAM
NAUGATUCK – A pair of retired members of the Naugatuck Police Department are celebrating a successful first year in business at the Bridge Cigar Shop at 155 Quinn St.
Naugatuck natives Bryan “Chuck” Cammarata and Paul Markette opened the shop and lounge last April. They say customers love its wide selection of fine cigars and the man cave-like setting that succeeds in creating that ideal mood for those aficionados looking to relax with a good smoke.
Cammarata said opening the shop in what was once the well-known “Marty’s Corner” five-and-dime store has been a dream come true for the longtime officers, who both still remain in law enforcement on a more part-time basis.
“It’s something we had talked about doing for a long time while we worked together,” Cammarata said. “We are both cigar smokers. At first, we just kind of joked around about opening a cigar lounge, and then it turned into us actually opening this place up.”
Markette’s grandfather once owned the original Bridge Cigar Shop many years ago in Derby.
The Naugatuck shop’s retail section includes four stand-up humidors loaded with just about every premium cigar you can thing of — from Cohiba, Macanudo, and Monte Cristo to Arturo Fuente, Romeo & Julieta and Perdomo.
“We have all the big names, and if there’s something that we don’t have that a customer wants, we can order it and it’s usually in by the next day,” Cammarata said.
The 1,000-square-foot lounge fits about 20 or so clients, many of them first responders who come in to enjoy a premium cigar with friends in a clean, relaxed environment aided by a state-of-the-art air filtration system that ensures it’s not too smoky. There is also a full bar on site.
Customers can rent their own lockers and take part in various events like cigar breakfasts and bourbon and wine tastings.
The shop also offers a mobile cigar lounge for golf tournaments, birthday parties, car shows, ladies’ night, even weddings.
“One guy just hired us for his 50th birthday party. He’s got about 20 cigar smokers coming, so we’ll bring our lounge out there,” Cammarata said. “We set up a little kiosk with the cigars and then a lounge with Adirondack chairs, coffee tables, ash trays and lighters, so people can sit, relax and have a cigar.”
Bridge Cigar Shop is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m., and Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. The shop can be reached at 203-632-8039.
For information, visit the shop online at bridgecigar.net.