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Just for Him in Springfield, Missouri, is more than a tobacco shop

by Stephen A. Ross

When it’s done right, a premium tobacco shop is far more than just the products and services it sells—it’s a community where friendships thrive and business deals come together. It’s a place of laughter, learning and camaraderie, where a person might go to shake off the frustrations of a turbulent day or make an already good day even better. It’s where an extended family, brought together by similar interests, develops. It’s a place of affection and support, and when people ask about it, patrons talk more about the friends they’ve made and the good times they’ve had there than the products that it sells. It’s a place like Just For Him in Springfield, Missouri.

To be sure, Just For Him is an amazing tobacco shop. Its approximately 4,200 square feet is mecca for the tobacco-loving pilgrim. The walk-in humidor is lined wall to wall and floor to ceiling with premium cigars, including some of the hardest-to-find boutique blends. There are more than 1,000 pipes—both new and estate—elegantly displayed. There are around 350 pipe tobaccos—both bulk and tinned—including nearly 100 blends that are Just For Him exclusives. And then there are the gifts and tobacco accessories. Need a hat, mustache wax, razor or a new cigar humidor? Half of Just For Him’s space is dedicated to serving those needs.

Christian and Jessica Hutson

Christian and Jessica Hutson

While the product selection is impressive, the staff’s knowledge and dedication to customer service is just as remarkable. Store owners Christian and Jessica Hutson train their employees to be experts in all things cigar, pipe and gift-related to ensure that every client receives the level of care that he or she deserves in a friendly and consultative manner. The atmosphere that the Hutsons foster at Just For Him makes it a place that people want to visit, not only to spend money buying pipes and cigars but also to spend part of their valuable time hanging out.

Case in point: Early on a Monday afternoon, Just For Him is hopping. A steady stream of customers enters the shop to secure cigars or purchase some pipe tobacco to enjoy on this glorious spring day. While most leave after completing their purchases, enough choose to sit down in the store’s front lounge that there’s soon a half dozen or so men smoking and socializing, preferring the comfortable atmosphere inside over the sunshine outside. The impromptu party lasts throughout the afternoon, with customers ambling in and out as the day goes on.

Most of the guys sitting in the lounge are regulars who make Just For Him an important jfh4part of their daily routine. They’re open and friendly, and eager to share stories with newcomers. For hours, they swap stories, trade friendly insults and pontificate on the meaning of life and other serious and not-so-serious topics. One of them, Dan Blackson, is a Just For Him employee who is enjoying the shop on his day off.

“My bosses are my friends,” he shares. “The camaraderie here is a great thing, and I don’t know of that many shops that have it. It makes me want to spend part of my day off here. This is a very welcoming and friendship-driven place. We always laugh because there is no problem that can’t get solved by coming here and talking to some of the other regulars—doctors, truck drivers, police officers, ministers, you name it. They’re all here.”

jfh3For example, Jessica relates the story of a Just For Him regular who had recently become engaged. This man’s fiancée wanted to know why he spent so much time at the store. He tried explaining that Just For Him is a community hub where networking with other enthusiasts could accomplish almost anything, but she didn’t seem to buy the explanation. Seeing the skepticism on her face, he brought her to the shop to show her what he meant. Entering Just For Him, he introduced his fiancée and announced that they were looking for someone to officiate at their wedding. The only other customer inside at the time happened to be a licensed minister who married the couple the next day at a nearby park.

“You have to have something to compete against online and its prices and accessibility,” Jessica says of Just For Him’s friendly atmosphere and customer service-driven focus. “We offer a nice place to sit and enjoy a smoke and socialize, and we have people who can help you figure out exactly what’s right for you. People realize that we have a level of knowledge and service that goes the extra mile. They like our enthusiasm and they want to be a part of it.”

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Category: Feature Article, Summer 2016

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