Your truely getting tested!
Nice article in the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel news.
Cigarette Racing Team moves into stylish headquarters in Opa-locka
By Mark Chediak
Posted June 17 2004
The walls are paneled with imported Brazilian cherry wood and Honduran mahogany. Custom-made wrought-iron fixtures hang in the meeting room and bar. Carved granite tiles cover the floors.
CEO Skip Braver's new executive office suite reflects the classy, exotic and exclusive image he wants for his new company, Cigarette Racing Team LLC, one of South Florida's original makers of high-speed powerboats.
"We now have the image of an office to go with our boats," said Braver, 54, who along with his team moved this week into its 200,000-square-foot headquarters in Opa-locka. Now, Braver said he will feel comfortable entertaining Cigarette's clients who include high-profile celebrities, foreign dignitaries, sports stars and sheiks.
"People aspire to buy a Cigarette boat," Braver said. "They're like a Bentley or a Ferrari."
Cigarette's new offices are just part of a $3.8 million renovation project that has turned a former 11-acre Mako fishing boat facility, sold by Mako's owner, Tracker Marine Group, into a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant. Braver and business partner Neill Hernandez, a longtime Cigarette employee, moved the plant from its original waterfront location on Thunderboat Row on Northeast 188th Street in Aventura after buying the company two years ago for $11.5 million.
"We could not do what we do now in our old location," Braver said, referring to the carpentry, upholstery, painting, welding and assembly shops that are now all under one roof. The manufacturing part of the facility opened in November 2003.
Cigarette Racing Team was founded by Don Aronow, who helped start the powerboat racing phenomenon. Aronow was gunned down in 1987 near his office on Thunderboat Row. Glenn Laken, a Chicago futures trader, eventually took over the company. In February 2002, Laken was convicted of securities fraud and eventually sold his stake in Cigarette to Braver.
Braver, a former car dealer from Chicago who also collected and sold exotic sports cars, said he decided to purchase Cigarette Racing Team after buying a 42-foot Cigarette boat in 2000. He met Hernandez, who was then head of Cigarette's manufacturing department, when he bought the boat and found out the company was for sale.
"I thought that the brand and the company was terribly undervalued and under-promoted," Braver said.
Since taking over, Braver has revamped Cigarette's marketing efforts by launching a new line of branded high-end clothes, watches and sunglasses. This spring, the company introduced several concept boats including a 46-foot red-white-and-blue American Muscle model and a 46-foot Rum Runner model painted with skull and crossbones.
Cigarette has also been showcasing its boats in boat-racing events called poker runs. The company's powerboat competitors include Delray Beach-based Apache Offshore Powerboats, Sarasota- based Donzi Marine and North Miami Beach-based Magnum Marine.
Cigarette Racing sold 85 boats last year, Braver said. The custom-made race boats range in price from $300,000 to $1 million. Braver said his private firm does not disclose revenue figures. He said the company was profitable.
"We'll make anything your wallet can afford," Braver added.
Tony Mondazze, who owns a plaster and concrete business in Parkland, said he recently purchased his fourth Cigarette boat, a 46-foot "Rider" model.
"Ever since I was a little kid I wanted one," Mondazze said of his fascination with Cigarette boats. "It's the best boat out there."
Cigarette plans to expand its sales in Europe, Braver said. This year the company opened a dealership in Moscow. It also has a dealer in the south of France.
Phil Lipschutz, who has been a Cigarette dealer based in North Miami for 18 years, said the powerboat maker is quickly growing out of its "little hobby shop" image. "The company is run more like a business now," he said.
Noting that he's sold boats to singer Enrique Iglesias and former Florida Marlins All-Star Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Lipschutz said that he is looking forward to bringing potential customers to the company's gleaming new headquarters.
"Braver has put new life into the company."
Your truely getting tested!
Picture of the owners of an Eliminator 33 (Doc John), a Formula 33' (powerguy), an Elimiator 25 (Airpacker) and an Outerlimit 37 (cowisl)... all on a Cigarette because it's to rough..... poor dears!!!!!
Spit your boat is sweet, and so is that gray one in the background..wow.
Hey Hey !!
My baby, possibly for sale if anyone is interested.
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