TAMPA, Florida – Tampa once had 200 cigar factories, but a hundred years later new buyers – a large family – are ready to move in.
“It’s like when you walk past a house, you say ‘no, no, no’ and you finally find the one you want,” Boscaino said.
Ted and his three brothers, along with their father Max, bought the massive Pendas and Alvarez cigar factory on Albany Avenue in West Tampa. The factory is a landmark because of its tall clock tower.
They plan to restore the factory with an emphasis on history.
“The intention is to restore this building and make it big and make it even bigger,” said Max Boscaino.
Max speaks with an accent from his native Italy and he feels close to the many Italian immigrants who worked in the cigar factories in Tampa. But his business is not the cigars; it is wine. He is the CEO of Wine Stream, a family business that sells wine barrels to restaurants.
They will expand their business in the restored cigar factory and serve wine directly to customers.
“The cellar, wine bar and pizzeria will open, hopefully by January. That’s our goal,” Ted continued. “It’s going to take a lot of work. Fortunately, I have a big family.”
Customers will also be able to create their own blend of wine, then store and age it in oak barrels in the basement of the factory.
They might be able to time it on the clock at the top of the tower. It hasn’t worked for decades, but if their plans come to fruition, the Boscaino family will go back in time by turning a cigar factory into a cellar.