THE offices at Lewis Stagnetto office on Main Street are a true step back in time.
Then again his family business Lewis Stagnetto has been running since 1870, initially as a grocer’s shop, also selling the enclave’s finest cigarettes and cigars.
It was from the wood-paneled office upstairs that their fathers and grandfather before them used to work –coincidentally taking photographs from its window of the high street flooded below, some decades apart.
There are pictures and mementos all around, including some lovely old grainy shots of his family with General Montgomery and Ted Heath on various visits to the Rock.
Best of all, is a selection of cigarette packets from the 1940s, which were all made by the company, before multinational companies were introduced and changed the business in the 1950s.
“It was a thriving business, mostly roll-your-own, until the likes of Camel and Players started coming in, but we just had to accept it and move with the times,” explains the Tangier-born businessman, who joined the family business at 22, having studied law at Kingston Poly in London.
They have certainly adapted well, opening no less than four shops on the High Street and 10 pubs and bars around the enclave.
“We started to distribute Heineken in the 1950s and are one of the oldest distributors in the world,” explains Maurice Stagnetto, who is also the Chairman of Gibraltar’s Rugby federation.
But, more than anything, the company prides itself as having the best selection of fine Cuban cigars on the Rock.
It is certainly an impressive climate-controlled shop, a ‘Casa de la Habana’ franchise, next to 41, Main Street with the cigars supplied via the celebrated Hunters & Frankau Company of London.
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