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Cigar Factory in Valley City


On this date in 1912, W. H. Schien became manager of a new business he established in Valley City—a cigar factory.

The cigar business seemed to be booming, and Schien's cigars were selling in various parts of the state. However, he saw Valley City as a place of promise and moved his family there. More families were assuredly soon to be on their way, promising a little spurt of growth in this still-new state.

Schien took out an ad in the Valley City Times-Record to announce his new business and lay out some of the benefits of having the factory in the area, such as boosting the local economy. He also advertised the different brands his factory sold. There was the imperial, a ten-cent cigar with various types of tobacco in a broadleaf wrapper. The El-Ko was small and hand-made, and only five cents. The Lady Hampton was similar in cost and type, but medium in size; and the K. P. was touted as "a great big smoke and worth a nickel of any man's money." Another ten-cent cigar was also in the works.

This cigar factory not only brought more people to the area and kept consumerism local; it provided an option for more employment. Soon after the factory was established, the Times-Record reported that 3,000 cigars were consumed in Valley City each day. According their numbers, the average cigar maker rolled 300 cigars each day. That meant the city could support ten cigar makers at the factory, if all of Valley City’s cigar smokers were to purchase their cigars locally. In reality, the factory employed three cigar makers, which supplied cigars for local stores, plus stores in a number of other area towns.

Schien insisted from the outset that he wanted people to patronize him not because he was local, but because they liked his product. However, the local production did lend to the appeal for his products. As the newspaper noted: “The Valley City Commercial Club has been preaching home trade, and here is a very practical way to carry out its own precepts. Mr. Schien has the goods. Call for them.”

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker


Valley City Times-Record, August 1, 1912

Valley City Times-Record, September 19, 1912