Jon Harrington, owner of luxury cigar bar in Phoenix, Arizona, Torch Cigar Bar, joins us today.

He talks about:

– being on the inside with the ultra successful
– hanging out with NFL Hall of Famers and Olympic legend, Michael Phelps
– how to stay driven and mentally strong as an entrepreneur
– Madonna and castles in Europe
– and other celebrity stories

Please welcome, Jon Harrington.

Episode highlights:

  • 0:47 – All about Torch Cigar Bar
  • 4:11 – Career journey
  • 7:30 – Early Riser
  • 10:13 – Advice from an Expert
  • 17:08 – Three Branches

Learn more about this guest:

Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.

What’s up listeners, David Burton here and today. Joining me is Jon Harrington from Arizona. Phoenix. Arizona is torch cigar bar, Jon. Welcome to the show. Thank you very much, Damon. So this is going to be fun, you know, for our listeners, Jon and I, um, we, we go, how far, how far back we would go. I was trying to do the math in my head.

It’s almost 15. How long you been married? We’ve been married for 12 and together for 14. So before, right around then. Yeah. So, um, maybe we’ll talk wedding stories later. So, um, Jon has, uh, he’s the founder of torch cigar bar, um, which I’ll let Jon do the justice on explaining, uh, what torches we’re a member based.

Um, but public is welcome. Uh, we’ve got a. A really a nice niche. We’ve created a wonderful environment with professional athletes and entrepreneurs and, um, just very respected, good members of the community. Everybody comes together. Hmm. And it’s a really nice ecosystem. I’m really proud of the, of the way that my guests interact with each other and conduct themselves.

It’s a very, um, welcoming environment that we’ve created. I’m very proud of that. So, what was interesting to me about torch cigar bar is that, you know, being out of Utah, it’s obviously a very conservative state. And so I had never even heard of the concept of cigar bars and you get outside of Utah and they’re a pretty common thing.

And especially in more, you know, the areas that you cater to is Phoenix and Scottsdale, which is, um, you know, we’ll say upper-class, uh, Elliott leans towards those luxurious indulgences. And so it’s been cool to watch that type of business start and grow. Um, from a perspective of having no background in that for me.

And what we’ve done is started out. We’re still a mom and pop it’s just my wife and I, um, but we have one of our liquor distributors. Their new training manual is going to include towards as the, as, as the way as this is how you start as a mom and pop with a very limited budget with. Even less knowledge going in.

Cause we we’ve been on the other side of bars for nearly my entire life, but I’ve never been on the operating side. And so we were completely making it up as we go along and lo and behold, two and a half years later, we’re buying $20,000 bottles of scotch. So it’s kind of crazy. That is crazy. And so I want to get more into torch, but, um, I also want to tell our guests, I want to explore your background because your background, uh, has nothing to do with, with your, that you’re in now.

And I want to clarify one thing for the listeners too. So, um, Jon mentioned torches, mom, and pop, but how many people do you employ? It’s not just you and your wife working there, but you know how it is. Each person takes on the responsibility of two or three roles. So we have a very small staff it’s undertake and people, but they’re extremely talented, extremely hardworking, and most importantly, very trustworthy.

And so where we were afforded the luxury of leaving the country for our, um, anniversary. And that’s because while we can still see, it doesn’t matter what we were in Africa, we’re on a Safari and we’re watching from our cell phones, the cameras we’re watching the bar, Hey, you know, Jimmy over here needs a drink.

We can still, we can still call the shots, but they now know that, Hey, mom and dad are always watching and they it’s, it’s programmed that they’re very honest and very hardworking and have a genuine want to have us all succeed. It’s very much a family. That’s good. Yeah. That’s a key to success and we’ll, let’s, let’s come back to that here in a minute.

Let’s jump into the background. So, um, what were you in immediately? What was your profession immediately before torch and then, and then let’s just go back in time. And, and where did your professional career start? Sure, uh, right before was parenting consulting. So I had my own internet marketing consulting gig for almost a decade.

I lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. The business model was, I don’t know much, but I know everyone that does know everything. So let me put this party a with. Already B and I’ll get in the middle of it and, and make my little cut. And it was a, it was a very prosperous, which I did rather well. Um, but when I met my wife, we, we started dating six and a half years ago.

We’ve been married for four and a half. Um, She asked me one day point blank. If, if she didn’t get the memo and I’m like, Oh sweetheart. You know, being the ever loving husband or boyfriend at the time, what memo was that? Sweetheart? The memo where we retired and I’m like, Oh, Oh, you know, like be drinking every day and playing golf and hanging out with the guys.

So we knew that we were too far along in life to start a family. And so we created, um, We wanted to, we wanted to build something and that was going to be our baby, which turned out to be torch. So how did so sorry, you’re self employed now. You’re self employed before. Yes. Where did your entrepreneurial journey began?

Is that something that you’ve always had that spirit or was there a moment in time where things kind of tipped towards the entrepreneurial lifestyle? The entrepreneurial lifestyle sounds about as great as being the owner of a bar. The best of the best part of being the owner of the bar we were talking about is saying that you’re the owner of the bar.

Everything from there is nothing but stress. And yet you have to just like the, what, what parents for me was give the perception that. We’re not really, we’re not really doing much. We’re out here golfing. We’re out here having a great time, just like towards, um, we were surrounded with NFL athletes and major league baseball athletes and we it’s all fun and games they don’t recognize is I’ve already been in there twice.

I was up this morning at three 52 in the morning I walked into torch. So I’m just, I’ve got to get in my exercise. Otherwise I turned into a basket case. So it’s that discipline that is created generally. It’s that early morning pocket that when everybody else is sleeping and you’re up at four and you know, your family is gotta be questioning your sanity.

Like what in the world are you doing? Walking in the dark 13 miles to get to. To get to your place. I was meeting some of my best ideas have come from. Being by myself, just walking, just walking and thinking. And, um, it is that every day pursuit of excellence, you can’t take a day off in this world. Yeah.

It’s, it’s funny. You talk about that entrepreneurial lifestyle and getting up early, I was just posting on LinkedIn yesterday and asking kind of survey and my network on if they’re night, owls are early risers and, um, Yeah. I was surprised. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering it was a professional network.

How many people are early risers? And it seems like all of them say the same thing. It’s a, they may or may not actually enjoy getting up early, but they’re all in it for the hustle to get a head start on the world. And you can try your best, just like I did this morning. It’s it’s three 52, dude. Just roll back over and fall asleep.

No, I’ve got this. I’ve got that. Oh man. I’ve got the podcast with Damon today. I’ve got this. I’ve got to, I’ve got to mentally prepare. I’ve got it. Oh my goodness. And then, well the heck with it, I might as well just get up and then plan your day. And that is the thing that being an entrepreneur, at least for me, what it did is it brought it really, really micro.

I don’t have. It may be, but for a few days of the year, will I focus on five year plan people? It seems outside of our, um, little click of entrepreneurs, maybe that’s when you get in you think five years, but man, once you’re in it, I mean, you know, as well as I do, you’re out in the middle of the ocean sometimes just trying not to take it take in too much salt water.

You’re you’re just, you know, just trying to get through the next minute. And so yeah. It’s M E so for our entrepreneurial listeners, how do you have any advice on how you, how you kinda, um, you know, survive in those circumstances and stay above water? And trust me, it’s a lot more difficult than I think that this is the thing that separates.

If there’s one psychological trait, For entrepreneurialship is just, that is being able to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And there are times where you don’t know if you’re going to make payroll. There are times where you don’t know all of a sudden a bill out of the clear blue for a big number comes through.

And you just have to deal with it. It’s not comfortable. It’s not fun. Everybody thinks it’s glamorous. Hey, you’re the owner of it. Yeah. Yeah. But you realize that it’s um, if you saw how much blue collar has to accompany, um, your white collar image, I think that people would be shocked. And so what you do is you just get very, very micro, uh, I just breathing techniques work.

I’m jumping in a cold pool where works, where you’re just in fight or flight and you’re and you were going to you going to find out how much, how much guts and how much heart you have when you’re hit with adversity and you’ll get ruined. It’s all temporary. They’ll get through all of it. So, how do you, we talked about the things that, the struggles that come along with entrepreneurial life, which I think is very important for new entrepreneurs to hear.

So with that being said, what makes you stick around and stick through it? What’s, you know, let’s talk about some of the good stuff and what are the things that you’re holding on for? Herenton consulting. If we’re going back a little bit parenting consulting. When I first jumped in, I, I spoke with one of the industry leaders, you and I both know him.

And, um, just ask plain and simple. How much are your bills? And how much, so how much do you need to make? And so I told him, and it was a low I’ll I’ll share it. It was, it was $4,000 a month and he, and he followed it up with, no, I’m not asking about your car payments. I’m asking about your monthly payments.

I don’t have any dentists. He goes, what are you doing? Working a nine to five making money for other people go in the worst case is that you, you don’t make money for 90 days. Okay. So you’re backed up $12,000. That’s okay. We’ll find a way to make you a 12,000 bucks. I’ll get you out of it. So. It was that first 30 days where, um, success came almost overnight.

I was making any in a, in a month, what I made in a year. And so that was, that was a lot of fun. That side of it. What keeps me going. There’s a lot of upside. Yeah. It’s so it’s, it’s um, it seems like a lot of entrepreneurs go through, um, Feast or famine. And I think it depends. Yeah. On, on the industry. Um, big cause like mine, for example, I have a different sort of feast or famine I’m I very consistent, but I don’t have like big ups or big downs.

Like my feast or famine is, is in chunks later. Okay. I just kind of float along and then all of a sudden, you know, it’s up exponentially one month or down exponentially. But, you know, it’s it either way, it seems like whether you have some sort of semi stability or not, um, it’s just all over the board, no matter what, what entrepreneurial or industry you’re in, in one way or another.

And I think we, I think we both, you and I do have from philosophies and different and different ways of approaching entrepreneurialship. And if you were to ask me I’m envious of the way that you approach entrepreneurialship is it is very much like a banker, right? In my mind, it seems much more flat lined with, with the blips being very little, like almost like little rolling Hills where mine is like a.

There’s a steep dropoffs and there’s steep inclines. The inclines are, are fun in mine. I learned early is you have to treat people very fairly and very kindly, and you can’t believe your own hype. Do not believe who Hey, this is who I am. And everybody take note of who I am, because you’re going to face those same people on the way back down, and they are going to want to bring their shovels and pile the dirt on top of you.

So you gotta be kind, and that’s something that I’m watching you you’ve been remarkably kind. You would never know if you have $5 or $5 billion and it really, it shouldn’t matter, but it’s, sometimes it does to the, certainly do your family, but, but you do a very good job of payment. Great. Well, I, I appreciate that.

Welcome to the diamond Burton show. Let’s talk more about, well, let’s talk about, um, so, so you illustrated, um, your journey is kind of sounds like high risk, high reward. Yeah. Is it, do you think that’s just your nature like you individually or because of the industry you’re in. No, I think I, I think I brought that in, I think, um, while it took me a while to get to where I want it to be, um, For example, um, my college sweetheart, and we move immediately from upstate New York to Las Vegas.

We would the questions as to what we’re doing. Um, we had a 10 year one in Las Vegas that didn’t work, which is how I ended up in Utah. Cause I save the planet. Those things. It, I truly feel whether it’s a day, a week, a month or a decade, it will eventually work out. And so, um, the, the risk doesn’t scare me.

It just doesn’t for some reason it should, but it has, uh, you know, it’s funny is, uh, so as we mentioned, Jon, and I go back and so, uh, not only do we conduct business together, but, but we we’ve actually become really good friends. And so, um, We’ll probably have some funny discussions throughout this, but one that just came to mind is, um, I don’t even how, what year it was, but we were hanging out at our old place and Jon was dating somebody that.

I don’t even know how long he knew this girl, like a week or something. That’d be a long time. Yeah. And, and we’re hanging out. And this was back when, when I ate would have drinks. And so we’re having drinks in the house and late night and, and the discussion comes up that you guys are gonna. Driving to Vegas in the morning to get married.

I swear to God, I didn’t know who we were talking about until then. So, so, uh, and so my wife and I, we just brushed it off to fun. Drunk, cute community. Really did it. They woke up the next morning and drove out to Vegas and got married.

That’s what we’re talking about about those there’s there’s no off switch. It’s not like, you know, personally, uh, I’m this person and professionally I’m that person. No, it’s the same. It’s the same guy. Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully there’s enough talent sprinkled in there to make it. But boy, some of these decisions statement, even they have not, it’s not been gentle on the, or the people around me.

Well, I, I think that’s part from my perspective, part of your charm, you know, it’s, it’s, you got a great personality and, and whether it’s in business or personal life, it’s always, you know, fun conversations and upbeat. So let’s talk about, um, kind of, I guess you’d say business influencers of the past. So we don’t necessarily have to say names, but you know, you’ve worked with some big people in the industry, um, and.

They’ve had big business successes, but, uh, may not necessarily be the most sound people personally. Um, and there’s been more than one person that you had, uh, business engagements with over the years that are like that, that have massive success, but are, are questionable in their personal life. Um, Share some of those stories or, or kind of talk about how that’s kind of this weird world, that a lot of people that once you get to the certain level of success, it seems like there’s this bubble where you get exposed to more people of success, which is great.

But sometimes it seems like there’s just these weird, um, these weird things that come with the territory, you know, there’s three branches. Of I viewed it. People would want to be right. You want to be an athlete. You’d want to be in Hollywood being an actor and. Well, entrepreneurialship is in there as well.

But what you realize is that when you get in there and it tastes a little bit because these guys are really, I’ve seen a couple of posts on that, that you’ve said, basically saying, Hey, don’t believe hype. These, these people are, um, Projecting, this it’s a mean world, right? And so it’s quick, it’s hit, you know, you’re, you’re trying to put your, your most flamboyantly awesome foot forward.

Um, but once you get behind the scenes with these guys and you do start knowing them on a personal basis, there is, um, some fatal. Laws, um, which I believe is their impetus behind their drive. They don’t want, they cannot fail. So they are going to, they are going to overwhelm you with shock and awe professionally, but man, you get them behind the scenes.

EA you may not want to be that person, uh, later on when they, when they put their head on a pillow and we know a few of those guys. Yeah. It’s definitely highlight reels. Um, yup. You know, let’s share some stories. So, um, uh, years before I started SEO now, national, uh, Jon and I worked together for, uh, probably about two years, um, w uh, at this one company and, uh, We were back then, man.

I mean, you aren’t, you’re, you’re self taught. So you roll into this office. I look at you like you’re some guru, like it you’re the smartest guy in the room. No idea what in the world. So yeah, the best part was going to subway. I love that. I still figure that the walk to subway everyday was, was like all ground.

I know you, weren’t going to tell that story, but. No, that’s a, that’s a great way to put it. You know why I was down in salt Lake the couple of weeks ago with my kids, we went to a soccer game and, and I said, Hey, you guys want to see where dad used to work? And we cut through there. And I was telling my wife, I said, there’s, there’s a subway.

That means Jon used to walk through. I’m still there. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, no, there’s no, there. It’s awesome. Yeah, the office I was in now has a view of the rail salt Lake stadium, and we knew that when they were building it, but, but I exited that company before they started the construction. Um, so yeah, it’s cool.

But no, I mean, this company, it was, it was a great learning experience for better or worse. So, um, the gentlemen around the company is very successful. I have a lot of business respect for him. Um, uh, the environment though was toxic and it was. And so I learned a lot about how not to treat employees and you know, some of the stories that came along with that territory is.

Like a, you know, a company parties and my wife and I walk into, uh, the suite and there’s just lines of cocaine on the table.

I was like, what is this? Yeah. So, so, you know, that was out of, um, out of, out of the ordinary for at least for me. And it, you know, just. Like we said it was toxic, but, but there was certainly entertaining stories. I mean, I think one of the, one of the best memories that I had is, um, is going on gumball 3000, the exotic car route.

And I think what’s, what’s on topic about that is, um, do you remember? I think his name is tango. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So we, so for the listeners gumball 3000, if you’re not familiar, it’s us exotic car road rally. It’s usually, I believe over in Europe and Asia and I think it was 2006. Exactly. And they said we’re going to go to the U S and so they did this U S run and they kind of started off, um, In salt Lake, because at the time there was a Miller motor sports park and that was the year it was opening.

And so they said, let’s kick this off in salt Lake. And then it went from salt Lake to Vegas, then Beverly Hills. And so the guy that Jon and I worked for, he had a Lamborghini and he said, Hey, Jon, you want to come cruise cruising with us? And then, Hey, Damon, you want to come cruise in too. But my car is only a two seater.

So can you follow up? So, um, So we went down and, and went to Miller, motor sports park and met, uh, Travis Barker from blink winning. And, you know, there’s all these celebrities. And, and then we went down to Vegas and there was parties in Vegas and then kind of fast forwarding to the Beverly Hills. So we stayed at the Beverly Hill and it was an awesome hotel and kind of going back to talking about highlight reels.

And when you get in this bubble with successful people, um, Jon can elaborate here in a moment. Cause he met more people than I did, but, but I remember this guy named tango and we go out to dinner to some fancy restaurant, Beverly Hills. And he’s talking about how Madonna was. So this guy owns a castle, a legit castle.

Yeah. Somebody was talking about houses or something and he laughed. So he goes, my, my home has, has. Been around longer than your country, older than your country. And he’s got this castle that’s a hundred years old and poke and find the USB in 200 years old. And he goes, Madonna wanted to be, get married at my castle.

And I said, no. And everyone’s like, well, how do you tell Madonna now or why? And he goes, I just didn’t like her right. Plain and simple. Yeah. And, but these guys, you know, outside in the bubble, these guys are the nicest people. Like if, if they, if they know you’re not coming at them from a position of wanting something and treat them like another person, they are the nicest people.

When you get to this mega success level, I think that’s a path to go down payment is, is how do you present yourself in public? If you’re on. The other side of the rope you want to get, you want to get into the club, right? So what you cannot do is ask these guys for anything. And it’s difficult because you’re like, well, you have a hundred million dollars.

What’s a what’s 10,000 to you. There’s there’s one, it isn’t to you ever going to happen.

It’s in, in once you, once you get these little building blocks of wisdom from being on the inside of the ropes, because I can remember being at dinner with you and, and he was calling your wife pink, right? Was it, was it pink or red? It’s counter paints. She has red hair and he was calling her pink. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

This would be for Pancha right around the time and the pink might’ve been big, but, um, but if you’re on that side, then the assumption is, Oh, you’re just one of us. But that’s difficult to get to. And the one, the only, I don’t know how you get there. There’s a million different ways to get there. One way that you CA I will guarantee your access will be denied is if you go in with a position of weakness, which is asking them for anything, who do you advise?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It was interesting. I mean, some of these guys, and here’s where I’ll lean on you. I think one of the only other people that I remember off the top of my head was, um, uh, inheritance some gentlemen that inherited like. All these oil fields, the Arabia or something. And these guys are just like, not all of them.

A lot of them are self-made. Um, but the level of success or, or financial stability that was in this group at gumball is just like next level. I mean, next level they were talking about the condos. You’re you’re talking about the guy that had the largest producer of oil in the. Venezuela. And in what he did is he took his money and he bought condos in Miami.

And of course he doesn’t know that. What do we make it 3000 a month, maybe $2,500 a month. And I’m thinking, Oh geez, what did you’ll get a good, a good, good deal on a $1.2 million condo. And he got it for 800. No, he bought the entire tower talking about when he’s talking about buying condos. And I just recognized at that point, I, I am the biggest fraud, please don’t detect my BS meter, but I’m just going to try and listen.

And that’s that’s what you have to do is these guys will give you information just, just quick hit question, open ended question, and then back up and shut up. Yeah, cause they definitely want to talk about themselves. So we’ll allow for that to happen. Yeah, it was, um, you know, the, what are the other things that I remember was, uh, well, I actually, before I get into this other story, just to emphasize on the next level was to put the, the gumball 3000 into perspective.

There was an entry fee of who knows how many thousands of dollars and the guys that came from Europe. They flew their cars on. I don’t even know what model a plane this was, but we met out at an airport in Sally called the million. Err. And, um, they were just these massive jumbo. You mean in the world at the time?

Yeah. So three beautiful cars, three of these cargo planes are parked and, and they just start backing out Ferrari after a Lamborghini. After BMW after Mercedes, after Bentley, I mean, there’s like a billion dollars. I saw it had to be a billion sure. Cars. Absolutely. I just flew him. Yeah, here we go. Under the next country.

What trouble can we get into next? Yeah. And the one guy wrecked his Bentley going down a Canyon. And so he just had another one. No, just flown in. Yeah. Unless it really is great to have those stories and to have that be where. That’s where you ultimately want to be. You know, you ask 10 different people there.

That’s probably reserved for one in 50 trillion, but those guys are there. They’re definitely different. There’s you talk about no off switch. They, I don’t know if some of those guys slept the entire time they were in the States. They didn’t want to miss a thing. Yeah there. So, uh, I got, I got th there’s two more memories I got and then we can kind of shift gears off of gumball.

Um, one was we’re at the Beverly Hilton and it’s probably like three o’clock in the morning. The fire alarm goes off and I didn’t hear it. It’s so I wake up and I opened the door, the hallway door to see what’s going on and it’s the whole building. The firearms are going up. So come to find out, there was a lady that became infatuated with one of the gumball participants over in Europe and found out he came to the U S followed him from codified autumn for Vegas to Beverly Hills and showed up knocking on his door.

And so the dude just like she, she pulled the fire alarm to get the dude out of his room. Hashtag me too.

That’s correct. But I haven’t heard one. That one. I liked that one. Yeah. Well, do you remember the parasail and story? Yo, you bet that when I’m told 5,000 times all that you tell this one, So we’re the next day, the next day we’re actually partying and Nick Nicholas cages, a house it’s in, uh, Venice beach.

And we recognize the guys from the night before. Okay. W we, um, what’d you guys do last night and he goes, Oh, w immediately zones in him. So I knew something was up because. There was a lot of stuff that happened and he’s like, Oh, you struck up a, I struck up a conversation with Paris Hilton and I’m like, Oh, that’s my best, uh, English accent.

And, uh, and I go, Oh, that’s cool. I go, what’d you guys talk about? He goes, well, actually I said, I heard you’re a bit of a slut. Shall we go to the toilet? And next thing I know I’m getting choked for security, grabbed her by the neck and out of the bar, like, well, good job. Glad to see that, uh, the filter.

Yeah, exactly. Well done. I think that’s a good, um, you know, the good pros and the good cons example ending on the con uh,

yes. Now let’s kind of get back to your entrepreneurial journey and what, whether it’s in torch, you know, you’ve had some cool things happen at torch. Like you had touched on, um, $20,000 bottle and, and little bragging, right. Things about something, the cool things about the exclusivity of torch. Um, so whether it’s with torture or previous business experiences, what’s one of your greatest business achievements or accomplishments or noteworthy.

You know, events that you can, you can highlight. I’ll tell you what, man. We just, we just had it yesterday. I believe. In the beginning. When you, when you first start out, your prayer goes for, please let me be inspired. Right? I want to wake up inspired. I want, I need an outside stimuli to inspire me. So whether it’s music or Ray Lewis, J you know, doing a motivational speech, anything to get you fired up.

But I felt yesterday was the first day that it was I, that was inspiring. And we went with hall of Famer, Andre Reed. Um, my wife and I took, we had a toy drive at torch. We ended up collecting 50 brand new bikes with helmets and a couple of boxes of brand new toys. And we delivered it to the boys and girls club of Metro Phoenix.

And there were, I don’t know, a hundred little peanuts ranging in age from four to probably 14. And. You realize at some point that this is, this play is bigger than you and you have, there was a Jim Carrey quote that I heard years ago. He said the best thing about fame is that you get 110% of the person that is talking to you.

And I found that very interesting. Hmm. So we are now, I mean, to a point that when we walk into a room that you, Hey, you, you guys are doing something bigger and better for yourselves. We’ve had a lot of really nice responses on media and anybody that knows social nodes that that’s a finicky little, little temperature is that, that can, that can turn on you in a heartbeat.

But when you’re giving away, um, really nice toys to kids that probably wouldn’t get it. Um, and to see, and to see their faces light up, you know, there were, there were tears yesterday. I’m just not used to that, you know? And so it’s an emotional time and we’ve, we’ve created memories for the ripple effect.

We’ll go into the thousands. It was a wonderful event yesterday. That’s very cool. You know, how do you, um, how does, how does that come up on the calendar as, as, as the, the event that you’re going to be engaged in? We started three years ago with Andre Reed. So Andre was a, um, professional football player for the Buffalo bills and played a total of 17 years in the NFL.

He is from basically my hometown he’s he’s, um, a played with the Buffalo bills. I went to the university of Buffalo. So when I met him at a golf tournament, Okay. I’m building a cigar bar. Would you mind being a member? And he goes, you can use me for anything. And when I’m in town, I’ll come in and you know, I’m just thinking.

Sure. Um, you know, I’m just trying to get you off of me what we’ve just talked about, not asking for stuff, but once you get to a certain level, you’re allowed to ask him. So he was. That’s his fault. He has been unbelievably kind. And so his, um, his girl asked, Hey, would you be receptive to us doing our read with Reed?

It’s a mentoring program, teaching the kids how to read. And, um, we can do, we can do some good stuff with charity and with the boys and girls club. So every year it’s gotten bigger and bigger the yesterday 50, 50 brand new bikes and, and. Um, and my members at torch are just the kindest human beings. And so they’re the ones that pulled all that off.

There were, there were miraculous. They, they represented as well. What was the connection with Andre? Cause at, uh, at the event that was your first engagement with them, right? No, this was, this has been going on for three years. So we use, we do an event twice a year. We’ll do something with no, sorry. The golf, when you met him at golfing, was, was that the first time you’d been introduced to him?

That was F well, no, a, um, I’ll tell this much more vanilla, but, uh, he stole a girl from me at a bar one time.

very hurtful, very, very hurtful. It took months of therapy to get over, but, uh, but yes, so that was my first interaction with them. And then, um, yes, that time on the golf course was. First real interaction and then it, and then it just went, um, it’s, it is developed into a lovely friendship. I can text them right now and, uh, you know, ask them, Hey, what about this?

Or what about that? He’s, he’s a wonderful human being. It’s amazing when you get those people that are on that next level. And if you can get in past that filter and reach the point of being, um, Being perceived as a genuine person, then those people that are on the next level or the, have those next level connections, that they are more than willing to help you.

If it’s kinda kind of, kind of sounds ironic or a juxtaposition or however you want to say it, but the less you blatantly ask for help, the more they want to help you. Exactly. Yes. It’s taken us a half an hour to get to the, to the soundbite, but that’s exactly it. That is exactly it. And if they, if the, even if it’s the perception that they think that it is, you know, an even playing field, right?

Like the one up one down, um, doesn’t really work. But if they feel like it’s, and maybe if I do something nice for this guy, then down the road, he’ll be something nice for me. As long as that year now, at the very least it could be the facade or it could be reality. Then, then you’re in good shape. So it’s some of it is sometimes, sometimes it’s just smoke and mirrors and you just gotta do what you gotta do, fake it till you make it.

It’s real. Now, speaking of, of your celebrity experiences, um, tell us, tell our listeners about the Michael Phelps story. Oh, geez. So again, it all comes back down, right? So I’m walk up. There’s a, we’re at a trade show. A cigar trade show in Las Vegas. No, Holy smokes. There’s way Lewis Ray Lewis. What is he doing here?

Oh, he’s got his own cigar line. Okay. With the power of having Andre as a member, I woke up, it was not a small dude and has a reputation of being a pretty mean, dude. And I said, Hey, um, what can I say to you right now? That would have you come to my cigar bar is only two words. Keep talking. Oh, no. Um, well, sir, I said, well, I said, well, Andre, Reed’s a member.

So all the cool kids are doing it. Maybe any, any stopped me dead in my tracks. And he goes, we’re doing it. I’ll be there. Not Uber. And we’re, we’re doing it. 300 email later between August and October, him and his and his personal secretary, her and I probably had two to 300 emails, verifying everything from uniform police officers to his own exit to this is what time the show starts to here’s how much money it’s going to call it to all of it.

So he gets there. And he impresses my wife with, with, uh, well, first he gets out of the car and he goes, I told you where you’re going to do a baby boy. I’m telling you, you talk about a guy Lewis and see if he don’t start sweating because that man, that man could make, make you do things that you didn’t think you could do that like run through a brick wall.

He is a master of psychology and his is partially nuts, but he’s awesome. So then he meets my wife and she’s. I think she fell in love immediately. And so we’re doing that show. We’re a brand new business and it’s our best night that we’ve ever had by far. And it’s a Tuesday night, then all of a sudden it was kind of kinda calmed down.

We had them for two hours. We’re probably halfway into it and I’m like, Hey, do you mind if I get a picture with you? Of course not. That’s another thing. These guys will sign anything and take these guys love that, that. When they’re in that mode, they love it. If they’re not, they don’t. So don’t bother them if they’re eating dinner.

But if they’re at a show, they love that stuff. So, um, at least every athlete that I’ve come in contact with. So I got my pension with Ray. He leans in, he goes to Phelps will be here in 15. And I can repeat what I said to him, but, but I did have the knowledge to go up to the front door and in walks 15, like almost, almost to the second, Michael Phelps by stick my hand out.

I go, I go, Hey, there I go, Jon Harrington. He goes, Michael fell. So, so he couldn’t have any kinder, um, Haman Ray Lewis struck up a, um, a dialogue when he was in rehab for, um, marijuana, I believe at the time. And Ray was sending him motivational books and, um, and they developed them. They’re both from Baltimore and they developed a brotherhood.

Like they, they were going to a wedding the next day in Cabo. They were jumping on a private plane. And when the Cabo, the next day. Wow, wonderful guys. Fantastic. And those are the things that, that, that were, um, you know, we said. We say it and we just have to keep reinforcing it. We’re not in the business of selling cigars or drinks or any of that garbage we’re selling experiences.

And I just don’t know of any other place that has, you know, where you can, where you can walk up to Michael Phelps, you know, Hey, sign my shirt and he would do it. You can put anything in front of these guys and they’ll sign it pitchers. And now you have that warm and fuzzy for the rest of your life. And it’s, it’s pretty powerful.

Yeah, it’s amazing that the, the reciprocity between, you know, the people that you show respect to and what they’re willing to do in return. Yeah, it really is. It’s it’s, it’s incredible. And these, we want to bring him back. Mmm Hmm. He’s gotten into the hall of fame. That that’s what helps with Andre. He’s he’s a hall of fame member.

Um, and Richie, incognito has been, has been a, a guy that again is in the, is in the headlines all the time for a lot of the wrong reasons. He comes into torch. My wife calls him Richard, and he treats her like he would treat his own mother. He is. Yeah. When he walks into that place. And if you didn’t know who he was, you would just be like, Oh, that’s a pretty big dude over there.

Meanwhile, he’s one of the biggest baddest men on the planet. So you’re exactly right. If you get these guys in a, in a setting that is comfortable and familiar, then, then, um, you’d be amazed at what, and by the way, one of his dear friends is Bob persons. He calls him uncle Bobby. Yeah. So now, now not bad, dad won’t go Bobby in the Rolodex.

So what else do you think if you had to summarize what’s contributed to your success? Is there anything specific you could put your finger on? Oh, I just think I’m too dumb to quit. I think that’s really it. I, you know, I think if you keep at something for long enough, um, and I think, let me, let me, let me rephrase.

Here’s the answer that I’m going to give you. You can’t have a plan B. What’s your plan B SEO doesn’t work. What are you doing then? We’re talking about it. I don’t have a plan. That’s it weird? You’re successful in what you do. You can’t have a plan B if you have a plan B, you will automatically buy Depot.

Cause this is going to be harder. The grind is going to be more intense, more difficult. And the people around you are going to question your sanity, but you can’t have a plan B because McDonald’s in it. Don’t do it. Just keep grinding. Uh, it’s, it’s a, it’s a time based business over time. Eventually you will hit what you’re trying to accomplish.

I think Tony Robbins was the one that had the phrase burn the boats. So you, you go to an Island and you burn it. It was from a war you’re going to war. You go to the Island of the enemy. Uh, somebody else probably knows this way better than me and st. I’m an idiot right now, but I actually actually got you.

I can see where you’re going with it. If you, if you have to fight your enemy on their territory, you go to their Island and you burn your boats. Right then you have no conquer. Right? I like that. The other one that I heard that I live by when I lived two years in Vegas, was you’re 15 minutes from success.

And as long as you program your brain to be that micro and to be like, Hey, you know what. 15 minutes from now. It can mess with you if, if you, um, if you allow it, but, but it’s a very liberating thought, like, Hey, I’m, I’m close. I’m right there. I’m right there. I’m right there. You know, what’s interesting on that, on, on that quo is that I think there’s a quote that takes the other side, but they both compliment each other very nicely.

So the other side of the table, and probably what you’re illustrating is where you said, where you say it can get to you. But the other quote is that. Overnight success usually takes 10 years. There you go. So I think it’s good to have both those actives have to have, have the hunger for the 15 minute pursuit, but also have the patience for the 10 year.

Concept correct, because it is going to take a lot when people always told us three to five years, three to five years. And when you hear it, it’s just a number and you’re like, whatever, dude, you don’t understand our business model. You don’t understand this. We’ve got a, you know, a couple of tricks up our sleeve.

We’ve been told by the owner of the Phoenix coyotes that this who has traveled the world and goes disregard bars across the globe. That. Nice a cigar bar that he’s ever stepped foot into. Um, so when I hear stuff like that, I’m like, this is three to five years. There’s going to be three to five months and we’re going to be bank rolling yet.

No, it is probably three to five years. And, uh, I think we’ll be on the three side, but it’s, but it does. You’re exactly right. The 10 years is that people don’t recognize that, especially when you hit it big, they just want to see, Oh, Howard stern says that on the, on the air all the time, people just see the result.

They don’t see the battle that took that it took to get to that result. And that’s okay. You know that going in. Yeah. What w now that you’ve kind of been through the ups and downs of building up a successful cigar bar, what. What would you tell even going back in time, even, even, yeah, more, what would you tell your younger self?

Or maybe some something, some advice for our listeners, uh, that you’ve learned throughout that experience that they could use to kind of help accelerate their learning curve. Don’t know don’t own money. That’s number one, don’t own don’t own money. And then if you don’t have money, then your word becomes your currency and you better be able to fulfill every promise that you make.

If it means showing up for a one 30 podcast, you better be there at one 30. We might not go off at one 30, cause I’m still trying to figure out how to get, how to get on. But if you see you’re going to be there. Then you better be there because in the beginning it is going to be a, a different kind of currency and you have to find out what that it is.

Is it your talent is your word? Um, because ultimately it is going to be, it will be for instance, new currency be fantastic. But yeah, my wife and I have said through this entire process, and I think it would have been really, really easy to have brought on a business partner, but wanting percent of their.

Financial commitment will be 99% of our worry. And we don’t, we don’t want that. And with just a little bit more push, well, we’ll, we’ll get there. And our word we don’t, we don’t owe any outside forces other than our monthly payments, but we don’t owe anybody along this journey. If you don’t have it, then don’t do it.

Avoid credit card debt, avoid post signing, avoid any, anything that, that doesn’t immediately impact your business or your growth. Just table it for a little bit, table it for six months, that five or 10,000 that you, that you think you might need right now. We’ll bury you in debt for, for a lot longer than for years.

I think that’s important for aspiring entrepreneurs to hear, because with the world of social media and being able to quickly share information and kinda like you were talking earlier about the highlight reels, a lot of people see the success stories. And like you said, they don’t see what went into the success.

They just see the results. And so I think a lot of entrepreneurs just see the shortcuts, uh, taking on venture capital money or getting investors instead of. Doing it, you know, shoestring it and owning it a hundred percent. Correct. I’m telling you, we have, along the, along the way, we have a small loan and I’m telling you, man, those guys, those VCs there, they don’t have to be nice.

And they won’t because their entire game is, they don’t know who you are and all they want is money. It is a numbers game. And if you think that your, your story or your plight might garner it, those are not the guys. It’s try out that act on, it’s not going to work they’re mean, so he cares who you come in contact with, and there are people that want you to fail and there were Sabbath.

So you have the right ear. So outside of work, uh, you know, as we get closer to wrapping this up, let’s talk, you know, personal life. What do you do in your downtime and your hobbies? It’s pretty cool sentence. But when Andre came into town the other day, we w I’ve got a member, that’s a member at the number six club golf club in the world.

Then they’re in, they’re super excited about that because Augusta national is number eight. So this club that we have up here in Phoenix is number six and we’re, we’re out on the driving range, just hitting balls, getting loosened up and out walks. The biggest, the biggest name. There’s, there’s two big names for the Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald and Patrick Peterson.

Well incomes Patrick Peterson, and so will, and he’ll be a hall of Famer as well. So to, so to watch that interaction on a golf course, outside of, outside of the game, outside of their work, golf is golf has created some magical moments for me, for me personally, and professionally, and it’s led to some.

Professional. I just told you that that’s where we met Andre Reed. I was told a long time ago, 90% of business deals are over a martini or around a golf. I have yet to be able to disprove that theory. Yeah. Well, it’s like the YouTube story. They, they inked a deal, uh, like a Danny’s or something. Yeah, exactly.

Exactly. Well, Jon, I appreciate your time as we wrap up, why don’t you tell our listeners, uh, you know, your website, your phone number, whatever information you want to put out there. Everything is towards cigar bar. So www dot dot com. Instagram is towards Chicago. Our Facebook is torch. Um, and you’re is towards the bar car as well.

So we’re, we’re, we’re, we’re doing okay there. We’re not social media team where we’re a cigar bar. And so, you know, we’re, we’re posting, we’re getting along pretty well. Um, were there was for the, for this last event with Andre and Richie, um, we had five people come I’m in from the East coast. They flew in specifically for this, so we’re starting to catch some.

And that was based completely off of social media that they hit me up on Facebook. And Hey, what time in may got to make sure because we’re flying in for this event. So it went off without a hitch and, and, uh, um, So that was, that was really, that was actually really, really neat. They were super appreciative.

They were wonderful people. I think, I think torch says great on Facebook. What’s cool about torches. Facebook is it’s very personal. It’s not the, just the generic means and, and random crap that you see on most company pages. It’s it’s Jon it’s his wife. It’s the gas. It’s very, one-on-one feel God. I appreciate that.

So as we wrap this up, Jon, um, we have a random question generator that we surprise our guests with. And your question is you eat, what do you eat? Food that fell on the floor. I think we’ve, we’ve talked about the ups and downs in life and, and, uh, and the, and the risks that this band is taken. I will go I’ve, I’ve worked in the restaurant world before.

There is no rule. That is food.

That’s a yes. All right. Well, Jon Harrington Thank you, Jon. Thank you, David. Really appreciate it.


What did you think of this podcast?

Jon Harrington, owner of luxury cigar bar in Phoenix, Arizona, Torch Cigar Bar, joins us today.

He talks about:

– being on the inside with the ultra successful
– hanging out with NFL Hall of Famers and Olympic legend, Michael Phelps
– how to stay driven and mentally strong as an entrepreneur
– Madonna and castles in Europe
– and other celebrity stories

Please welcome, Jon Harrington.

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