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Tobacco company launches electronic cigarette

Dozens came out to Berry Hill Mansion and Resort Thursday as Cherokee Tobacco LLC launched its newest product, the Arrowhead electronic cigarette.

 Influential guests included members of Halifax and South Boston Town Councils, Halifax County Industrial Development Authority, Halifax County Board of Supervisors, Halifax County Chamber of Commerce, dozens of Cherokee employees and many others.

Kathy Farley, president of Cherokee Tobacco and Firebird Manufacturing, greeted and thanked everyone for coming out to the event.

 “Thank you all for coming it really truly means so much to us we love this community, and we’re glad to be a part of it,” Farley said.

“This event celebrates our growth, our employees, our partnerships and our hometown. Tonight is an example of bringing it home and making it work. I believe we have executed this flawlessly,” she added.

She began her speech with a quote from Rupert Murdock.

“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow,” Farley said. “We must be very fast in our market, and we have done just that. We have jumped at opportunities and positioned ourselves in such a way that we have become a force to be reckoned with in the marketplace and at home,” she continued.

Farley explained to the crowd what the cigarette business was all about.

She explained the company has several divisions under CB holdings including Cherokee Brands, the sales and marketing division for tobacco products.

Cherokee has been around since 2001 and was originally located in Roxboro, N.C., under the name of Royal Investments. 

In March 2010, Farley said Firebird Manufacturing, which is located in South Boston and produces all of the company’s tobacco products, was purchased, and in Nov. 2012 the company launched Sequoyah Brands which houses the Arrowhead electronic cigarette.

“Although each division works hard independently, collectively we have benefited from each other, and other local companies have also,” Farley said. “Look around. You all are here because of some relationship and or partnership with us. I believe our companies have been good corporate citizens. We support our communities. We employ locally, and we buy local every single time we can. This is very important to us to utilize the businesses we have right here at home.”

Farley took a moment to recognize all the employees.

“I am so proud of our employees. They are hard workers,” she said.

Farley also acknowledged the management team.

“This group works as hard as any group I have ever worked with. I can’t say enough about them. If it weren’t for their dedication, their drive and determination to make it right, I don’t know where we would be,” Farley said.

 She briefly discussed the company’s rapid growth.

“In the last 12 months we experienced a 600 percent growth in personnel, and we aren’t finished. We’re still hiring. Our manufacturing has increased in the past 12 months by 920 percent. We have increased from 11 styles of one brand, which was Cherokee, to 101 styles of eight different brands, and as of yesterday morning we sealed another contract manufacturing account. This too will bring more jobs and the need for more equipment to our community,” Farley said.

She said the company would remain aggressive in pursuing new accounts. 

“What do we have that others don’t? I think we have a team that works like a well-oiled machine. If sales sell it, then manufacturing makes it and makes it on time. Sales has sold it, and manufacturing has made it. They never let us down,” Farley said.

Farley also discussed the company’s partnership with Jeb Burton and Turner Scott Motorsports.

“One day Ward (Burton) and I were in the office talking about tobacco companies and the fact that we couldn’t sponsor anything due to FDA regulations,” Farley said. “At that time, Greg Nash walked in with an electronic cigarette, and it hit me like a ton of bricks that there are no regulations on electronic cigarettes and that we had a huge opportunity.”

Farley said it was only weeks between their first discussion and the company sealing the deal with Turner Scott Motorsports, gaining approval from NASCAR and starting the process of getting the news out to their current customers and potential customers.

She said they knew it would be a hit with current customers, but the big deal was trying to get partnered with potential customers, and it worked.

After discussing the company’s major partnership, she closed her speech by thanking everyone for coming out.

“ We have created a partnership that we are very proud of. I believe others will try to quickly replicate this, but the good news for us is we did it first,” Farley said.