Sam Fawaz and Ashraf Abbas, owners of the newly opened Cigaro Lounge on Michigan Avenue in west Dearborn, certainly have their work cut out for them. They open their new venture during one of the most hostile economic environments seen in the last 70 years. While many neighboring businesses are taping ‘closed’ signs to their windows, Mr. Fawaz and Mr. Abbas are defying convention by opening along a stretch of road that has not been kind to start-up businesses, lately.
The fact that the Cigaro Lounge is another in what is quickly becoming a glut of smoke/cigar shops in a half-mile stretch down Michigan Avenue may ultimately lead either Cigaro or one of its many competitiors to shutter. Long-standing Don Yeyo Cigar Company down the street, and Le Cigar in the struggling West Village Commons development already offer area smokers a wider range of cigars and tobacco.
It brings to mind the ‘coffee shop triangle’ of a few years past, with Little Café, Au Bon Pain, Panera, Starbucks and Caribou coffee all located within a three-block radius, and all simultaneously vying for Dearborn’s caffeine lovers (and their cash). Only the corporate-backed Panera and Starbucks remain.
Of course, Fawaz and Abbas may take heart in the initial success of the Well Dearborn. Another bar in a business district that is rife with drinking holes. Yet The Well appears to be distinguishing itself and becoming a destination for the younger social set. Hopefully, the owners of Cigaro Lounge can do the same.