The faint smell of spicy tobacco lingered in the air stepping through the door of the Smoke Pit.
Modern black lounge chairs and sofas are arranged in clusters throughout the downtown Greenwood space, inviting you to come in and relax. Exposed brick walls and original ceiling joists speak to the history of the 70-year-old downtown Greenwood building where the new cigar lounge is located.
And in the corner, a sleek black walk-in humidor offers a gateway to dozens of varieties of cigars, from locally rolled boutique versions to some of the world’s most luxurious brands.
The Smoke Pit opened in late September at 221 W. Main St. in Old Town Greenwood, offering a place for aficionados and novices alike to enjoy good conversation and a good cigar. Owner Reid Storvick has tried to create a welcoming, open atmosphere to those 21 and over, and hopes to offer an experience like nothing else in the area.
“I wanted it to be a place for anybody, where anybody can come in and feel relaxed,” Storvick said.
After a long day serving in the deserts of Afghanistan, nothing sounded better to a group of tired Marines than lighting up a cigar.
In the years overseas serving in the U.S. Marine Corps that Storvick began to appreciate cigar culture. The ritual between he and his fellow Marines became a way to relax, unwind and enjoy each other’s company.
“I was able to smoke cigars with my friends, and we were able to relax in the evenings, talk about the day. Everyone gets pretty stressed out during the day, so it was a nice way to bring everybody together,” he said. “That’s where it all started.”
Storvick served four years active duty in the Marines and another four in the Marine Reserves, deploying first to Afghanistan and then to Guatemala and Honduras. When he returned home from his second deployment, he continued his cigar hobby, enjoying them with friends in the Greenwood area.
Half-kidding, he told his wife Jessica that he might want to open a cigar lounge.
“She played it off, laughing at me. Then a couple weeks later, she brought me a typed up business plan,” he said. “After that, it was time to get myself in gear.”
Plans started coming together for the Smoke Pit. They had ideas of what they’d offer, how they’d set up for the lounge and what they would need in order to make their vision a reality.
They wanted to do it in Greenwood. The city holds special meaning for Storvick’s family; his grandfather was integral in Greenwood history, particularly with the Greenwood library. His father, David Storvick, founded 148 Wellness just a mile away from where the Smoke Pit is located.
“My family has been in this area for a long time,” Storvick said.
Most of all, Storvick wanted to offer a wide variety of cigars. He put an emphasis on some boutique brands, cigars blended in limited batches by small companies. The products can have more variety, depth and uniqueness than those created by larger companies.
Cedar Creek Cigars, based out of Martinsville, offers unique blends such as the Cedar Creek Connecticut Toro, a medium bodied cigar with tobacco from Honduras and Nicaragua, and the Cedar Creek Maduro, with notes of cocoa and earth.
Another boutique line, Big Sky Cigars, recalls the heyday of Montana cigar making with carefully rolled cigars made with Central American tobacco.
The Smoke Pit also focuses on cigar brands founded by veterans, a nod to Storvick’s own background in the miilitary. For example, Warfighter Tobacco Co. was established by a group of combat veterans in Texas.
But for all of the specialty cigars being offered, Storvick also wanted to feature some of the world’s top brands—Rocky Patel, Perdomo, AJ Fernandez and others.
“Not everybody is going to want to try the new stuff; they want to come in and smoke something they know,” he said.
Customers are able to come in to the lounge and pick out a selection, smoking in one of the plush seating areas throughout the building. Special filters have been installed to keep the room from being too smokey, Storvick said.
They can also buy cigars to take home, and Storvick has applied for an alcohol license. He will soon have a small bar to add to the ambiance.
That atmosphere is what sets the Smoke Pit apart, Storvick said. For him, sitting down with a cigar and a group of people, even if it’s strangers, is a comforting experience.
“It’s something you can talk about. My wife always tells me I don’t really talk to people. But when someone comes in the door here, I already have a common ground to talk about with them,” he said.