The Ron-Fernandez Cigar Company was established in 1904 by F. A. Ron and Manuel Fernandez, who at the start manufactured their own product, employing one or two girls as helpers.
The Ron-Fernandez Cigar Company first introduced the manufacture of clear Havana cigars into the northern states, meeting with indifferent success at the beginning, but by perseverance proved not only that these cigars could be made in Minnesota, but that they were second to none in workmanship and quality.
The company has been successful since the beginning. In 1900 other partners were admitted into the company, which in that year was incorporated under the laws of Minnesota. The house covered the entire Northwest, from the Soo to the Pacific coast, and as far south as Indiana. The western trade, especially from the states of Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Montana, is very heavy. All the surrounding territory gives a stream of orders the year round. The Havana tobacco which is used by the company is purchased direct from Cuba and is imported to Duluth in carload lots. Tobacco is purchased from only one plantation, as a rule, which gives the cigars of the company a uniform run of quality. All workmanship put into the clear Havanas is by Spaniards and Cubans, who have been induced to come to this country by offers of steady work and high wages. The company employs about 125 people. In 1908 the company established a branch house at Tampa, Fla., where all the cigars of a certain grade are made, the Duluth factory restricting its output almost entirely to domestic brands. The officers of the company are as follows: Thomas Thompson, president; F. A. Ron, vice-president; C. T. Fitzsimmons, treasurer; H. B. Detweiler, secretary.