Steve Saka is back.
While it’s no secret that the former Drew Estate ceo and president has been planning a return, there’s now confirmation that he will be at next month’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, which is named after the town in New Hampshire where Saka currently lives, is listed as an exhibitor for this year’s trade show; halfwheel has confirmed this is Saka’s new company.
“I appreciate the opportunity to comment, but I am just not ready yet,” said Saka, when reached by text.
Saka had a two-year non-compete clause following his departure from Drew Estate in 2013, though it appears to be over as of June 18, which is when he took to Facebook and posted that “as of today I have concluded the third restrictive covenant of my lifetime so far.” He joined the company in 2005 as its president and was promoted to ceo in mid-2012. He and Drew Estate reached a rather amicable parting, which was announced shortly before the 2013 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July of that year. His last date of employment was listed as July 11, 2013.
Prior to that, he ran the website CigarNexus.com and went on to work at JR Cigar.
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust has filed for a variety of trademarks including, SOBREMESA and SIN COMPROMISO. In addition, it’s filed for two other marks—TODOS LOS DÍAS and LOTE LIMITADO—but it appears the company might have run into issues with those marks given the USPTO’s current status.
Saka has made it clear that he has been spending ample time in Nicaragua, particularly during this year.
There has been much speculation that Saka and Nicholas Melillo, another former Drew Estate executive, might work together. Melillo, who has already announced his own Foundation Cigar Co., told halfwheel that he is not currently working with Saka.
The 2015 IPCPR Trade Show & Convention begins July 17 in New Orleans, La.
Patrick Lagreid contributed to this story.