Photos courtesy of Theo Anderson and Legacy Cigar Lounge
Despite its name, Legacy Cigar Lounge is about much more than cigars. It’s about building community. It’s about offering an experience that everyone can enjoy – even those who don’t smoke. From the cigar lounge to the restaurant and bar to the various weekly and special events, people visit Legacy to connect with others and relax.
This is the mission that motivated Penn State alumna Adrean Turner and her husband, Rick Turner, to open their business in West Reading on Sept. 1, 2023.
“When you come to Legacy Cigar Lounge, you get to meet people of all different backgrounds, all ages, and all walks of life,” stated Adrean. “Everyone comments about the socially inviting and relaxing atmosphere. Some come for the nostalgia of smoking a cigar and reminisce about a family member who smoked. When you’re smoking a cigar, it’s not about you. It’s about the cigar and the experience.”
She added that patrons don’t need to be members to enjoy Legacy Cigar Lounge, and there is no cover charge unless there’s a special event on the day of your visit. Their establishment offers cigars at every price point. Customers are welcome to stop by, enjoy a cigar, a bite to eat, and a cocktail, and just relax to the jazz or soft reggae music playing in the background.
Adrean goes on to explain that she and Rick love giving back to the community, and they always dreamed of starting a business together. Rick is a cigar aficionado, and the couple thought about installing a cigar lounge in their basement. Then, inspiration struck when they watched an episode of the reality television show “Love and Marriage: Huntsville,” in which a married couple opened a cigar lounge. The rest, as they say, is history.
Building the ‘Legacy’ experience
The Turners wanted to create an experience that everyone could enjoy – they call it “the Legacy experience.” When patrons enter the lounge, they are immediately greeted by a certified cigar sommelier tobacconist (CCST), who helps walk them through the process of choosing a cigar based on the flavors they enjoy and the kind of experience they want to have. Then, the CCST cuts and lights the cigar and recommends a food and drink pairing.
It was important to the Turners that all employees who work with cigars become certified cigar sommelier tobacconists so they can provide the best experience to customers.
In addition to a cigar lounge, Legacy offers dining options. The 4,500-square-foot facility includes a restaurant, bar, and various lounge areas, including a non-smoking section. They plan to renovate the lower level for conferences and other special events.
The bar serves premium hand-crafted cocktails, and they boast that they serve the ‘best old fashions in town.’ “And we have the freshest cigars around – we focus on flavor,” Adrean added, explaining that their premium cigars are hand-rolled and touched more than 500 times in the cigar-making process. Paired with the menu that offers Creole-Latin-Soul flavored foods, it’s an experience to savor.
Cultivating an atmosphere
The lounge creates an intimate setting in which patrons can enjoy a relaxing, comfortable environment, with warm hues throughout, oversized leather sofas and chairs, game tables, and modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, surround sound, Wi-Fi, and a state-of-the-art air filtration system.
Legacy also has outdoor seating, live music, and weekly and special events like jazz brunches, chess tournaments, karaoke, trivia, salsa, ballroom dancing, and, yes, ladies’ night-themed activities.
“Women smoking cigars is more mainstream than people think,” explained Adrean. “It’s an experience. It’s about slowing down and being mindful.”
Adrean stated that she enjoys smoking a cigar from time to time, and she prefers slender cigars with notes of vanilla and almond, while Rick enjoys fatter cigars with notes of walnut.
Forging a new path
Opening Legacy Cigar Lounge has been a labor of love for the Turners. Both enjoyed long, successful careers before embarking on this new adventure.
“We did a lot of market research, went to other cigar lounges, and met with consultants,” explained Adrean. “The cigar community has been so helpful. We’re not in competition with other cigar lounges; it really is a community.”
Both Adrean and Rick brought a great deal of marketing experience to the business. Both worked in the pharmaceutical industry and served as advisers to the PA Small Business Development Centers. In addition, Adrean works with the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council.
A native of Philadelphia, Adrean earned a B.S. in economics with a minor in quantitative analysis from Penn State University Park in 1990. She then went to work as a sales representative for a large pharmaceutical company that offered tuition reimbursement, so she promptly enrolled in the MBA program at Penn State Great Valley, earning her degree in 1994. After 23 years in pharmaceuticals, she decided to retire from the industry and started a coaching and training consulting company, Turner Coaching Training and Consulting, which provides career and leadership training and public speaking services.
She credits the Penn State Berks LaunchBox, an innovation hub of Penn State Berks, with providing valuable support and resources and helping her to develop a strategy for her consulting business. She began working with the LaunchBox in 2017, and since that time, Adrean has served as a coach for entrepreneurs and a competition judge and now serves as an adviser. She added that she loves to support entrepreneurs in their journey.
Adrean is also the author of Fit for Success, which can be found in the Library of Congress. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at Alvernia University, a frequent speaker for Berks Women2Women and Greater Reading Chamber Alliance events, and even held the title of ‘Mrs. Berks County’ in 2018.
Meanwhile, Rick has had an equally impressive career journey. Originally from Baton Rouge, LA, he moved to California with his family as a young boy and enlisted in the Navy after high school. When he graduated from boot camp, he was deployed to his first ship, which stopped in Valparaiso, Chile. That’s where he smoked his first cigar, a Cuban Choiba, and discovered a life-long passion.
In fact, the Navy not only played a part in Rick’s love of cigars: It was also part of Rick and Adrean’s love story. They met when Rick’s ship, the USS Constellation (CV-64), docked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and soon began dating.
After the Navy, Rick began his career in the pharmaceutical industry, working his way up from custodian to biotech engineer to sales and marketing executive. During that time, he earned his baccalaureate degree in business administration from Gwynedd Mercy University in Philadelphia and his MBA from Alvernia University in Reading.
“We support each other in our individual goals, and we have been dreaming of how to bring our lives together for a passion,” stated Rick.
Adrean also supports Rick’s passion for physical fitness. He has competed in eight Ironman Triathlons.
Rick has been a lifelong cigar aficionado, traveling to cigar lounges in Philadelphia and other areas throughout the region for the experience that he and Adrean have now created at Legacy Cigar Lounge.
Lending meaning to ‘Legacy’
The Turners have been married for 32 years, and they have three adult children and two granddaughters. Their two sons work with them at Legacy. Jordan is assistant manager of the humidor and cigar experience, and Rick IV handles overall operations. Their daughter, Angelique, is employed as a nurse in Philadelphia, and she is also involved in the family business, lending a hand with special events.
“Family is the reason behind the name ‘Legacy,’” explained Rick. “We want to have a legacy to leave to our children and grandchildren.”
When asked how the business has been received, they say that the public reception has been great. They also commented that the West Reading Community Revitalization Foundation and all their neighbors in West Reading have been very welcoming to the ‘new kids on the block.’ They are also looking for opportunities to partner with other West Reading businesses. They have already formed a partnership with Trisha’s Specialty Cheese Cakes to offer a special bourbon cheesecake that will only be available at the lounge.
And what does the future hold for Legacy? The Turners already have big plans for the future, including renovating the lower level to turn it into a conference and special event area and growing the cigar experience beyond Berks County.
Everyone is welcome to join the community
While you don’t have to be a member to enjoy Legacy Cigar Lounge, those who do want to join enjoy a long list of benefits, including a personalized humidor cigar locker; discounts on cigars, food, and accessories; private members-only events and advanced event registration; and priority booking for private events, all for the $100 per month membership fee. More than eighty members have joined since the lounge opened in September.
Legacy Cigar Lounge is located at 559 Penn Ave. in West Reading (the site of the former Chef Alan’s Restaurant.) For more information, visit [email protected].