Premium Cigar Association to Temporarily Shut Down Due to COVID-19
The last few months have been very unkind to US businesses thanks to ongoing travel restrictions and shutdowns resulting in a shaky economy as our country and leadership continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19. Many retailers have had to close their doors and shudder their cigar lounges. Some small to large businesses have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, stimulus package, but non-profits like the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) are exempt from participating in the billion-dollar windfall.
The cigar industry has been hit particularly hard by the downturn, but survival favors those who have prepared for such a scenario. Unfortunately for the PCA, events over the past few months, including having to cancel the 2020 PCA tradeshow, have simply been another finger in the eye of the beleaguered organization trying to reinvent itself to better serve the premium cigar and pipe retailers, manufacturers as well as acting as an industry advocate. Yesterday, PCA leadership announced that after a careful analysis of their current financial situation that they would temporarily cease operations and furlough most if not all of their employees, including Executive Director, Scott Pearce. The shut down is due to begin on July 15, 2020.
John Anderson, President of the PCA Board issued the following press release:
“As we have all worked tireless over the past several months to keep our businesses alive, the PCA Board has also been confronting the challenges facing the association due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past few months, the PCA Board has struggled with several very difficult decisions over that time and the staff have done a tremendous job working very hard to keep the organization operating close to full capacity. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we reach out today to let you know that we have decided to furlough the PCA staff temporarily while we work on some key items. I want to stress that this is only temporary, and we fully intend on bringing the full staff back as soon as we are able. This is just to give us some time to get financially settled in order for us to move forward.”
In a follow-up call, Pearce re-emphasized the temporary nature of the shut down and that it is simply to make sure PCA has a future. Pearce states that PCA fully expects to be back to full strength in time for the 2021 PCA tradeshow next summer. What is still uncertain is the duration of the shutdown and furlough. When asked specifically about the timeline, Pearce elaborated, “There is no definitive timeline. There’s a few variables that the board has been working on. Some of it may come to fruition sooner rather than later. Ideally, it’s maybe a few weeks, but realistically, we have no idea how long it may last if all worse case scenarios happen. Unfortunately, there’s just no definitive timeline.”- In Fumo Pax!