Dustin Pike remembers his first cigar -- it was Cuban.
Most people remember their first stogie -- half the joy of smoking a cigar is the experience that surrounds it, after all.
And now, there's a spot in downtown Goldsboro to go and smoke cigars and create plenty of lasting memories.
Pike, 31, opened Tobacco and Hops at 112 W. Chestnut St. last week -- a full service tobacconist shop that will have a lounge that serves craft beer inside in the coming months.
The retail side opened this week, which sells premium cigars, pipes, pipe tobacco, lighters, cigar cutters, humidors, tampers, pipe lighters and other accessories. The store does not sell cigarettes, e-cigarettes or glassware.
Pike said his humidor -- which is 425 square feet -- currently has 150 cigar "facings" in it, and can hold around 100 more. "Facings" are unique sizes of different cigars, so each box with a different size counts as a facing.
"You can spend anywhere from $5 or $6 a cigar up to $20-something a cigar," Pike said.
Cigars come in several different sizes, and are measured in inches and ring gauges. Ring gauges determine the girth of the stick -- the larger the ring gauge, the bigger around the cigar is.
Pike has been around the cigar business for about a decade, which aided his decisions on which cigars to stock his store with.
"At the end of the day it's a little bit of knowledge for being around the industry for 10 years, and it's a little bit of knowledge of knowing what's hot right now," Pike said.
Pike himself has smoked cigars for 11 years, first purchasing cigars on the Internet until he found a local brick and mortar shop and started frequenting it.
From there, he got to know the owners of that store and started seeing the business-side of cigar shops, and a dream of opening his own cigar store was born.
"You hang around a shop long enough and you start helping them work events, you start helping them run the retail side a little bit," Pike said. "I knew it was something I was passionate about and it was something I kind of always talked about that maybe one day I'll buy a cigar shop or own a cigar shop."
In 2015, he was laid off from the job he was working and got hot to trot on making his dream a reality.
"It was a mutual layoff, but I got laid off because I didn't want to relocate to Toronto full-time," Pike said. "I said, You know what? I've been talking about doing it, so it's now or never."
He inked a lease for his current location on June 1, started construction post-haste, and less than a year later, cigar aficionados and curious beginners alike now have somewhere local to go and enjoy good company and a delicious smoke at the same time.
In the coming months Pike plans to open the lounge side of the operation, in which there will be televisions, a bar, several beer taps, a large selection of bottled craft beer and lockers for people to store their cigars and smoking supplies in.
The lockers, Pike said, will likely be an add-on to a cigar club he is planning to start in his shop once there is an established customer base.
For $25 a month, people will be able to receive a bag of three cigars worth $25 and discounts off all purchases. For a little bit more money, those members will have a locker to securely store their smokes in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
The business, which opened February 22, is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Once the lounge side opens up, the hours will be extended.