Palm Coast, FL – Seeing a successful business change hands can be a bittersweet moment for entrepreneurs who’ve spent years building it up, but there is something satisfying about passing it on to new owners who share the same passion for the product that inspired the inception.
Welcoming friends and patrons to the Ash & Ale Lounge on Friday, November 4 for a Havana Nights themed celebration, Kenn Klarich and wife Kim Reignier-Klarich beamed with pride over the cigar bar’s grand opening weekend.
A long history with the establishment, Klarich is more than a new owner. He’s invested. His commitment to the lounge was so impressive, that when he decided to buy the business, a group of loyal patrons stepped up to help support him through the ownership transition.
“Supporting a new small business is important not only to the City of Palm Coast but as Founders we believe in supporting Kenn Klarich which in his words ‘motivated him to purchase Ash & Ale’,” said Randy Stapleford, one of more than a dozen regular supporters of the business.
“I’ve got a core group of about 15 folks that helped me out by being Founders. They believed in me enough, when I was coming through the process of debating on whether I was going to buy it or not, that they said that they would love to invest in me doing this because they think I do a great job,” shared Klarich.
“So all of them – I’ve got memberships for my lockers, and my top lockers is my Founders Row, they all paid a good penny. I put all that money they gave me for it back into the business to keep us running for the first few months. It was fantastic. It was an overwhelming moment.”
Carrying on the Tradition
As one of the longest running established businesses in the European Village, the cigar shop and lounge has been a staple for customers of every style and taste. Former co-owner Ky Ekinci is pleased to see the business in the hands of someone who is truly invested in seeing the establishment continue to flourish.
“Mark Woods and I passed the baton to Kenn and Kim. The legendary cigar lounge in Palm Coast, The Humidor, operating at the European Village since 2005 has now become Ash and Ale,” said Ekinci.
Kenn began working at The Humidor in 2021, managing the location in 2022 before taking over the business in September 2022 according to Ekinci.
“He’s proven to be a game changer when it comes to the business. Single-handedly he’s increased sales, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. Because Mark and I have other businesses it was hard for us to focus on the business here at the cigar lounge. This made it an opportunity for Kenn and us alike, to create the next chapter for both parties,” said Ekinci.
“A hands-on, customer-focused, savvy owner-operator is what the business needed and we found just that in Kenn. As the new owner, he will now continue the legacy of this landmark business here at the European Village, one of the handful that continuously operated since 2005,” he said.
“I have tremendous memories at what used to be The Humidor. I will continue to have wonderful memories at what is now Ash and Ale, but this time as a customer, ambassador, and supporter. God speed Kenn and Kim in your endeavors.”
Hospitality Is the Name of the Game
It was a proud moment not only for Kenn and Kim as customers made their way through the door, but for Kenn’s mother Glo Klarich.
“Exciting is not the word. To see them both in something together and happy and in love, makes my world,” she said.
With a career in the hospitality business, Klarich understands the meaning of customer service and aims for the Ash & Ale to continue being a place for people to relax with a glass of wine or cold beer, while enjoying good conversation and a high quality cigar.
“The premium cigars are always a tremendous hit. We have Padrón Cigars, we have the ‘K’ which is by Karen Berger, a local person, we’ve got Didier which is another boutique out of Miami, we’ve got Villiger, quite a few different brands,” he said.
“We can do special orders. It can sometimes take a week or two as long as I have access to those distributors, yes, I can order them.”
Demonstrating the craft of cigar rolling, Karen Berger, owner of Don Kiki Cigar Lounge in Daytona Beach was excited to welcome Kenn and Kim to the cigar industry.
“I feel really blessed to have people who support me and this is a cigar family. This is a business that everybody supports each other,” said Berger. “He supports us selling our cigars and we’re more than happy to be here.”
Ash & Ale Lounge
101 Palm Harbor Parkway, Suite B-119
Palm Coast, FL in the European Village
Hours: Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday –Thursday: 12-8
Friday & Saturday: 12-10