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January 2016 Newseltter

XIKAR NATION
January 2016
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Kurt's Corner

 

Twenty years is a short time. Twenty years ago, I had just one, not two kids.  They are now in college, and have grown up so fast that I like to say, “in a few short years, they’ll be older than me!”

And just twenty years ago, Scott and I started XIKAR.  Out of an idea we built in our garages and sold to our local cigar retailers, Scott and I built an iconic* cutter – and then a brand.  Of this, I like to say, “the brand is bigger than the product.” 

How does this happen, when the road to success is littered with innovative product?  We began with a product of great function, form (artful to the eye), feel (ergonomic) and sold it at a fair price.  And we didn’t stop there – we added a lifetime guarantee, with a commitment to treat our customers as we want to be treated: with concern, good communication, consistency and quickness.  Add in a little luck (the cigar boom), and a lot of persistence (we didn’t pay ourselves the first two years!), and that’s how it happens.

How does it continue to happen?  You make it happen. You continue the now twenty-year-old dream by supporting why we exist – through your appreciation of cool product and service you can trust. Thank you!  In the coming weeks, you’ll see a 20th Anniversary commemorative edition cutter, as well as a “thank you tour”.  I hope to meet each of you in person at one of these events.  And at that event, if you can tell me where the name XIKAR originated, I’ll hand you a cool XIKAR pin.

*XIKAR is extremely pleased to announce, on our 20th Anniversary, the award of a Trademark by the United States Patent & Trademark Office on the shape of our cutter. In order to achieve this honor and its perpetual protection, we had to prove to the patent office that our cutter had achieved “iconic” status. From Idea to Icon!


 
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

XIKAR U: How to Cut with a V-Cut

June 2012 Newsletter


June 20, 2012
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Kurt's Corner

 
Dear XIKAR Customers and Friends:
 
      In honor of Father’s Day, I want to take a minute to thank my father for helping make me the man that I am today. In my childhood, Papa (as I still call him) was very strict about work, but liberal regarding life’s adventures and experiences.  His goal: to create in us a sense of adventure, with independence and responsibility.  I think he succeeded greatly!  He succeeded the old fashioned way, by sharing, and by engaging us in his passions for art, history, travel, cars (racing and collecting) and reading.  
 

      By the end of high school, he had taken each of us on several art and history tours, to China, Ethiopia, Russia, Egypt, Europe and Central America, where he drug us in and out of museums and churches (which was even a regular excursion at home in Kansas City.  By the way, as an "expert" in the world's museums, I can tell you that the Centro Leon in Santiago, Dominican Republic, created and donated to the Dominican people by the Leon Jimenez cigar family, is one of the worlds great museums, right in the heart of cigar country,  it's a must see visit!)
      I share all Papa's passions except cars (reliability is good enough for me), but particularly history, travel and reading.  I also share his love for cigars!  For as long as I can remember, my dad always smoked two cigars a week, one Saturday afternoon and another on Sunday. On Saturday mornings, he would take me in to see Fred Diebel and get a couple of cigars. I loved the smell and the easy warmth of the place and the people - we now call that camaraderie.
      When Cigar Aficionado first came out, I decided to get him the inaugural issue as a birthday gift - that’s what really got me to start smoking cigars. I remember looking at the magazine and thinking, “Wow, there is really something to this.”  Is there ever!
      After retiring, my dad has worked at XIKAR since 2003. He inspects returns and “tests" cigars. We all love having him around for his help, and his stories and "observations".  (I think people of a certain age have earned the right to have those comments kindly dubbed "observations"!)
      I have my dad to thank for my sense of adventure, austerity, curiosity, and of course, my work ethic. These traits have all had a great impact on my life and reflect the essence of XIKAR. Without the values my dad has instilled in me, XIKAR wouldn’t be where it is today. I hope that after this Father’s Day, you can reflect on your father and how he shaped your life. As you smoke a cigar, I hope you do it with him, in person or in spirit!   

 
Kurt Van Keppel
President & Founder
XIKAR, Inc.
 
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