On Tuesday, Steve Ysidron, the owner of the Epicurean cigar brand, filed suit against his former distributor, House of Emilio.
In the complaint, filed at the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Miami, Ysidron alleges that L.J. Zucca, Inc., the parent company of House of Emilio, breached the agreement the two companies had for the distribution of Ysidron’s cigars and owes Ysidron $148,000.
The complaint alleges the two parties entered an oral agreement where by House of Emilio would exclusively distribute Epicurean cigars. Interestingly, the two companies announced the distribution agreement in December 2012. Ysidron claims House of Emilio agreed to purchase the cigars for 27 percent below the wholesale price.
At some point last year, a dispute arose regarding shipping and other costs associated to distribution. After that, the complaint alleges House of Emilio stopped paying for products. Ysidron claims because his distribution agreement with House of Emilio is exclusive, he’s prevented from selling the products elsewhere, further damaging his business.
Ysidron declined to comment further on the matter.
L.J. Zucca provided the following statement:
LJ Zucca, Inc. has been in business since 1947. Our success and longevity is attributed to how we do business, with the upmost integrity and honesty. Our reputation is backed by hundreds of quality vendor relationships.
Our cigar distribution division, House of Emilio, has had a record-breaking sales year in 2015. We along with our distributed brands, will continue to serve our retail partners well and make 2016 another record-setting year.
As of May, House of Emilio appeared to be still distributing Epicurean Cigars, but at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Ysidron was nowhere to be found in the House of Emilio area.
Ysidron started working on Epicurean in late 2011 and debuted the following year. He previously worked for Savinelli overseeing their premium cigar division before it was phased out.
L.J. Zucca Inc is a New Jersey-based distributor who services convenience stores and other retailers in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. The company sells virtually every product you can find in a convince store.
It also operates a variety of tobacco retailers in Delaware including Delaware Cigars. In 2010, it started its own private label, Emilio, and later House of Emilio, a distribution company that focused on offering smaller brands nationwide. House of Emilio’s portfolio had included as many as nine brands, today, the company distributes: 1502 Cigars, Emilio, Ezra Zion and Nomad Cigar Co.
Frank Herrera is representing Ysidron.