Parked on the weekends on Memorial Boulevard near Ohio Street and next to the new Coney Funeral Home, the 1911 Rollin Cigar Lounge gives small groups of people a chance to gather and smoke cigars in a comfortable RV.
It’s the brainchild of Marcus Wilson, 45, a private security professional and truck driver, who opened the business in July. The gun enthusiast says the name 1911 is derived from his favorite pistol. The motto for the business is, “Come smoke your head off.”
Wilson originally wanted to open a brick-and-mortar cigar lounge but found the commercial leases and renovations costs too expensive, so he opted for the mobile route. The Lakeland native said it’s a concept he found on YouTube in the spring and thought it was missing in Lakeland.
“I was like oh my goodness. This is beautiful,” Wilson recalled. “I thought it was the perfect thing because Lakeland has never seen it. Polk County has never seen it.”
When he’s not parked on Memorial Boulevard, he travels to events or attends private bookings including weddings, corporate events, birthdays or game-day parties.
The inside of his 35-foot Heartland Pioneer travel trailer seats nine people; he also has two chairs for the outside. There are recliner chairs, a full kitchen, a bedroom, and bathroom. He also has an air filtration system inside the RV.
He sells 20 varieties of cigars including the Tatiana and Deadwood brands. Customers are allowed to bring their own libations.
“People come in, they smoke, have a good time. We talk business,” Wilson said. “I think it brings the best out of people. You’re either going to relax or talk business, just like on the golf course.”
He said others purchase cigars and then leave.
Wilson recalls smoking his first cigar when he was 18, but really got into it when he was 23.
“I’ve been smoking now for [more than] 20 years. The smoothness, the flavor, the smoke smell, the relaxation … It’s just a relaxing, expensive habit,” Wilson said.
He enjoys teaching his customers how to light them.
“I can teach you lighting, cutting … and puffing it … It’s different from cigarette smoking. You don’t inhale it. You just kind of puff it and exhale,” Wilson explained.
His COVID-19 precautions include sanitizing daily and hiring a company to disinfect the RV.
“[They] sanitize, disinfect and protect it. The protection lasts close to 180 days. It’s one of the state-of the-art-type sanitizing. It’s just not spray on and wipe off,” Wilson explained.