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GLENS FALLS — One of the signature cigars at the new Hometown Cigars and Lounge is the Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish.

That is the vibe that the owners are going for at the new shop at 278 Glen St. which opened on Friday.

“It’s all about friendship and camaraderie,” said co-owner Jasiu Osakowicz. “People can sit down to talk and have a two-hour conversation with a complete stranger.”

Osakowicz, Brian Donovan and Jason Marchese are partners in the business, which grew out of their own friendship.

“It’s something we’ve always done together,” Donovan said. “We’ve smoked cigars together for 15-plus years. And as we were smoking those cigars, we’ve always talked about having our own place in downtown Glens Falls, and here we are years and years later and it’s finally come to fruition.”

Donovan, who was born and raised in Glens Falls, has worked in the tobacco industry and has a background in construction. He did all the build out of the 1,400-square-foot space himself. The space has a downtown city industrial vibe. People can sit at the bar or also a soft seating area with oversized comfy chairs.

The lounge is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Osakowicz, whose family has owned The Peppermill restaurant in South Glens Falls for many years, said the reception has been good so far.

“They’ve never seen anything like it. It’s been great,” he said.

They carry more than 100 varieties of cigars. In addition to the custom-blended Amistad, they also carry popular brands such as Gurkha and Room 101. Cigars are in the range of $8 to $12.

In addition, there will be coffee, cappuccino and snacks available.

The owners also put in a large ventilation system to filter out the excess smoke — more than two times what the engineer said was needed for a space this size.

Osakowicz said they wanted a different experience from being at other cigar bars, where people cannot enjoy their cigar because they are smelling everyone else’s cigar.

In addition, there will be a limited number of private lockers available where people can store their cigars. Members will receive a complimentary monthly cigar, attend a members’ appreciation party and have first access to lounge events. The lockers will come with a key and personalized name plate. The cost is $375 for a yearly membership and there are a limited number of double lockers available for $650.

A grand opening will be scheduled in a couple of weeks. Donovan said he believes it is going to be a grand opening of the entire renovated building on the corner of Glen and South streets. Craft on 9 hopes to be open by Labor Day.

Donovan said he tells people that buying the cigar is the “ticket to the event,” but people stay for the conversation.

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Michael Goot covers politics, business, Glens Falls and Lake George. Reach him at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog at http://poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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