One of the bigger changes to booth space I noticed early on at the 2023 PCA Convention & Trade Show was that made by Garo Cigars. In previous years, the company had its own space, and while I don’t remember the exact size, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was in the 20′ x 20′ range.

This year, Garo Cigars does not have that booth space but rather is part of the Boutique Cigar Association’s (BCA) Pavillion, a space shared by 16 smaller cigar companies as a way to make the PCA more accessible for boutique cigar makers who can’t justify the cost of the trade show. As Dr. Garo Bouldakian told me, since he moved to support the BCA, and remains the organization’s vice-president, it is only appropriate for him to have his company in the pavilion. As you will see in other posts about companies in the pavilion, each has the same display where they can show off their products. In the center of the pavilion is a shared seating area. From what I could tell on day one, it seemed to be a pretty good arrangement for the companies participating in the pavilion, as well as for retailers and media.

Dr. Garo Bouldakian once again heads up the booth this year, though his son, Harout, is away. He and his wife are expecting their second child this weekend. While the company didn’t release any new cigars at this year’s show, it does have some new lines that it has released within the last year, including the HGB Series, a line Garo created as a tribute to his son for all of his hard work.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.