Kingston, NY – After nearly 14 years in Kingston, Uptown Cigar Company today announced that it will relocate to Florida and close its retail store effective June 30th. Uptown Cigar Company was opened as a neighborhood, family owned and operated cigar store and has grown into one of the cigar community’s premiere retail and online destination sites for quality tobacco products and superior service.

Owner Michelle Tuchman announced the relocation with regret. “I am a New York resident and have been privileged to serve customers both from within the State and across the world through our online presence. However, the rising cost of doing business here in New York no longer allows me to offer my customers a competitive experience and we are forced to move our thriving business to Florida where the accumulated taxes and fees are reasonable.

When Uptown Cigar Company was founded, New York State’s excise tax on tobacco products was at 20%. Over the years, the industry in New York saw the tax increased first to 37% and then to 46% — far outpacing the tax rates in other states. This year’s Executive Budget advanced by Governor Paterson proposes to increase the already uncompetitive excise tax to 90%. It is expected that the Legislature will approve this tax increase as part of a final budget deal.

“When I close my store, regrettably I will be forced to lay off 2 full time and 1 part time employees and leave yet another vacant retail space in Kingston,” said Tuchman. “This is, however, the only way I can continue to serve my clients with an even better selection and better prices. Sadly, I think Uptown Cigar Company may be the first tangible casualty of the State’s unending appetite for tax and fee increases.”

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