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People who know Dennis Massengale, whether because of his work with longtime local band No Big Deal or through his job as a Realtor, know that he isn't shy. He likes people and likes to talk to them.

Dennis with a cigar in his hand surrounded by others with a nice Corona or a Robusto is an even friendlier sort. And, and as someone who understands "location, location, location," it should come as no surprise that he is part of a group looking to open a new cigar store in the East Ridge area on Mack Smith Road. He and a group of investors will be opening Holy Smoke Cigar in July, he said.

"There is a culture of cigar smoking that is different than anything else I've ever seen," he said.

"You might see a stranger out and wave to be nice, but if he is smoking a cigar, we'll end up talking and inviting him into our group."

For years, Massengale has been gathering at the Cigar Man on Main Street with what he calls a "cigar therapy group." He also finds himself there a lot between real estate showings with his laptop and over the last several months, some of his fellow smokers there started talking about opening a place in East Ridge near all of the development around Camp Jordan the Red Wolves soccer complex.

"We talked about all of the stuff going on there and pretty soon we put a coop and an LLC together and found investors," he said. "It's a great location across from the Cracker Barrel on Mack Smith Road in a nice building."

All of the humidors will be custom built by local craftsmen, he said. Although memberships will not be part of the plan, lockers will be available for rent with renters getting special deals on cigars. He said the plan currently is to offer beer and not liquor, and that the idea is to focus on having a place to sit and enjoy a cigar.

"It will be nice with leather couches and chairs," he said. "We don't want it to have the perception of being a bar that offers cigars, but a cigar place that offers beer. Of course, if you want to keep a bottle of scotch or red wine in your locker, that is perfectly legal."

The store will also hold quarterly "cut and light events" featuring cigar experts from a variety of suppliers.

Joining Massengale on the board of directors of Holy Smoke will be Greg Cornelison and Don Reynoldson, who will serve as general manager, as well.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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