, , , , , , , , , , , ,


Remember when you used to do the #FF on Twitter just a few years back? It stood for Follow Friday or Friend Friday (according to who you asked) and as far as I can tell, no one really does that any longer and whilst I’ll admit I was slack on that on Twitter, I will also say that Twitter isn’t my main social media platform and I just didn’t do it. But, I think it was a good idea and I’d like to pick that back up, except do it here on this blog.

I have a slew of friends that are interesting folks. They may have businesses, they may be musicians, they may just be eclectic as heck, whatever! I just think they need to be highlighted more because they bring awesomeness to the world and we’re lucky to have them here in WSNC.

This week, I’m going to step away from the sponsors for a second and talk about one of my favorite people’s biz. That’s my co-host on The Less Desirables, Bethany Miller’s Top Leaf Cigar Lounge. Top Leaf Cigar Lounge is located at 1411 W First Street which is right up the street from Quiet Pint and Cin Cin Burger Bar. _topleaf

There are a few “tobacco” stores in town. They have a lot of the Hav-a-Tampa, cigarello-type things and what have you. They also have some big-name cigars that some rep sold them and the employees at most of these places have no clue about the cigar. Plus, you buy it and you have to take it somewhere else to smoke it right? Yeah. I have never really been a fan of those kinds of places.

Bethany and her husband, J.D., are different. They are a cigar store. They carry big name brands, they carry some high-dollar banded cigars, they carry entry-level cigars, and so on. Just like those shopping center places, you’re thinking. Well, the difference is the Millers, especially Bethany, does extensive research on her wares. She can most likely tell you the owner of the company that made the cigars, sometimes even knowing the name of the person who rolled them. She makes trips to Central America to tour the factories and she even had her own branded cigar called the Strychnine (I hope I spelled that right).

So, not only is Bethany selling you high-quality cigars, she knows about the makeup: the filler tobacco, the binder tobacco, the wrapping tobacco. She knows flavor profiles, she knows ring gauge, she knows her cigars. But, wait, that’s not all.

Top Leaf Cigar Lounge is exactly that. A lounge. Remember earlier I said you buy your cigar and you have to go somewhere to smoke them. Well, Top Leaf gives you a space to smoke your recent purchase. Now, that isn’t free, if we’re being honest, but there is a monthly membership and a special daily membership if you just want to sit around and listen to and join in a cigar powwow with other avid cigar puffers and shoot the breeze about life, sports, and other cool things. Have a favorite beer or wine you like to have with your cigars? Well, bring it. They are licensed to have that. As of now, they aren’t able to accommodate liquor consumption because the state is ridiculous and live by antiquated laws, but that may soon be changing. While you’re there, ask Bethany about listening to some cool jazz on vinyl since she just purchased a turntable and some records from our pals over at Underdog Records just a few months back.

As I alluded to, there may be some changes coming in the future. As we talked about on The Less Desirables, Bethany was one of the finalists of the Small Business Center’s Launch Challenge at Forsyth Tech. She has plans to improve her biz whilst relocating to a bigger, more accessible spot. There will be a full bar and a place for low-key live music. A lot of great things coming. To find out more visit their Facebook page, their website and Instagram. And for a special treat, follow Bethany out on Instagram where she’s TobacovilleNista!

Now, to go along with cigars, a big trend happening right now is CBD. Yeah, that’s marijuana. But, it’s not marijuana. Not exactly. The part of cannabis that gets you high and is the “outlaw” of the plant is the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). That’s what you’re tested for with drug tests. However, hemp and its uses are many and vast. There are hemp fiber, hemp seeds and their oils, hemp leaves (which you can eat) and more. The other cannabinoid produced is cannabidiol (CBD).

_salemorganicNow, I may be talking out my backside on all of that as I’m going to admit that I really know nothing about it. And, that’s okay. Do NOT take my words here as gospel. What you should do, however, is talk to some experts. And, I have just the experts for you!

My friend Chris Eastwood is the owner of Salem Organic Supply and he has been a guest on The Less Desirables. You can hear his very informative conversation about the benefits of and dispelling myths about CBD as well as hearing more about Salem Organic Supply by listening to that episode here.

My mother had bariatric bypass surgery this year and she’s had a knee replacement in the past. She’s suffered a lot from chronic (is that pun?) joint pain for many years and when she had the bariatric surgery she could no longer take Aleve which had been her saving grace for years. Her doctor suggested trying CBD and at first, she was apprehensive because well, it’s from the same plant as marijuana and that’s just not her bag, man.

My sister, who is a listener to TLD said I should talk to my mother about the CBD benefits after hearing the show with Chris. This past Saturday I took my mother to Salem Organic Supply as she was really hurting. My friend Tonia (whom I have known since she was like 19 or so) works there and she demonstrated the products to my mother, educating her on what everything is and how it works. She did a great job.

Ma Mère got a salve and a bottle of CBD oil, both made by Chris and his partners and by that evening she was in much better shape. The next day she was in (virtually) no pain at all. I hear a lot of people talking about CBD oil these days. Some say it did absolutely nothing for them and some say it changed their lives.

It may change your life and it may not. I know that Bethany and Danielle both swear by it. It worked for my mother. So, my advice would be to go to Salem Organic Supply and talk with Tonia and Chris. Let them lead you in the right direction. If it isn’t for you, they will tell you that and work with you in finding that direction. Their address is 545 Trade St. (but is located on 6th street in between Trade St. and Liberty St.), Suite 106. It’s where Burke Street Comics used to be. Or you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram or visit their website

If trying CBD is something your doctors or loved ones say may be beneficial to you, then I would definitely give Chris & company a try.

I hope you’ll visit my friends soon, not just Fridays, and help local businesses and local business owners and hey, you can get good beverages and delicious pies! Thanks for reading about my friends.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“A cigar is as good as memories that you have when you smoked it.” – Raul Julia