"Sigaro - Per Favore!" (Cigar - Yes!)

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Mayfield Smoke Shop at 12307 Mayfield Rd. in Cleveland’s historic Little Italy. Owner and Founder Nicole Laurienzo was born within walking distance on Murray Hill. Her full-time love affair with Little Italy is non-stop as Nicole continues to live in the neighborhood on E. 125th St. with her trustworthy dog, Nikki.

Every day of the week, Nicole manages her shop with its 17 humidors, a collection of imported, hand-rolled premium cigars and a full line of smoking accessories such as cutters, lighters, ashtrays, and imported cigarettes.  

Her fondness with cigars began years ago when Laurienzo attended an East side cigar smoking event. This unique and friendly atmosphere ignited a career change (after spending 10 years as a cashier for the Russo grocery chain). With her mind made up, she went shopping for a welcoming locale – a meeting place if you will –  for neighbors to enjoy coffee, a newspaper and a good cigar. The layout includes a lounge, television, chairs, table, and a space for a big Italian family gathering.

It’s impossible not to smoke a cigar while hanging around in the shop. Nicole’s primary customers are men, but don’t rule out the handful of ladies who stop in regularly. The Mayfield Smoke Shop has hosted many noteworthy guests over the years: singer R. Kelly, former Browns’ punt returner Josh Cribbs, and Cavaliers radio broadcaster Austin Carr, to name a few. A younger crowd comes in for MS Italia cigarettes at $12 per pack. The only Italian imported cigars are Antico Toscano; five cigars are available at $15. Italian immigrants are still able to purchase their favorite twisted little Italian Parodi cigars - made not in Italy but in Scranton, PA. Laurienzo hopes that sometime, in the near future, Cuban cigars will be available.

What does the Laurienzo family think about Nicole’s long love affair with cigars? Nonno Carmen, who emigrated from Campobasso in the Molise region of Italy, was a strong supporter. Her dad, Joe, who delivered newspapers for the Plain Dealer and mama, Betty, gave their blessings to their daughter who mastered her education at Holy Rosary School and Regina High. Nicole’s five brothers and sisters were also encouraged to pursue their work endeavors.

To learn more about Nicole’s collection of premium cigars, cigarettes and accessories, visit one of the best neighborhoods in town – Little Italy – and look for the Mayfield Smoke Shop’s welcome mat every day of the week.

More in this category: « The Old Man We Italians Remember »