E&C History Part 3

Part 3…Selling Elephant & Castle

To promote E&C, we ran ads in PCI's magazine, the only consumer publication at the time, and trade publications like the RTDA almanac. Retailers were receptive, in part because Marble Arch was associated with quality products. However, it surprised us that many dealers ordered the whole line with the exception of the Blue Mosque.
So what do you do when they won't buy your tobacco? You give it to them! Actually we created a "Launch Offer" bundle which included Blue Mosque, and was appealing enough that most of our orders and reorders for quite a while were "Launch Offers".
It worked - little by little the Blue Mosque started to sell on its own. By the time McConnell closed, it was the biggest seller in the E&C range.
Things ran smoothly for several years. We added and then deleted 100 gram tins. Added and then smoked 250 gram bulk vacuum sealed bags. We kept fighting our inclination to add new mixtures, and the line sold well - not like Capt. Black - but it sold well. Customers liked it and the quality was always rock solid. It also meant we had great tobacco to smoke ourselves!
We should have known it was too good to last.
Ken McConnell and his brother Mick weren't old, but while we weren't paying attention, they had decided to retire, and none of their progeny wanted to be involved with a 100+ year old tobacco factory.
The Elephant & Castle line was manufactured for about eight years by C.E. McConnell at their factory on Barking Road in London. It was only made in London.
Alan Schwartz, who's Wessex tobacco was also being made by McConnell tried to buy the company and keep it in London, but ultimately it was sold to a German company.
The closing of C.E. McConnell in 1989, which had been founded in 1848, was a sad day for pipe smokers - whether they were aware of it or not.

  on to Part 4…After Elephant & Castle


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