Fortville cigar shop owner turns over a new leaf


FORTVILLE — Larry Harnish has always liked maduro cigars.

He enjoys the bold flavor within the dark wrappers of a good maduro, which means "ripe" in Spanish.

So when he opened his cigar shop on Main Street in Fortville, it seemed like the perfect name. At Maduro on Main, what’s always been a keen interest has been rolled into his new profession. Now, he hopes to spark that same appeal in others.

Harnish spent the bulk of his career in the building materials industry. When the company he worked for was bought out last July, he realized something.

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"I thought this is probably the time to control my own destiny," he said.

He just needed to determine where. Harnish lives between Cumberland and Greenfield and never spent much time in Fortville. His children attended Mt. Vernon schools, but that was usually as close as he got to the town.

"Main Street in Fortville was all closed up for the most part," Harnish said. "But now it’s popping."

Just like the defining characteristic of a maduro cigar, the opportunity to succeed in Fortville seemed ripe, he said. Harnish guesses the closest cigar shop of Maduro on Main’s type is 20 miles away.

"I’m buying in to what this part of Hancock County’s doing," he said.

Harnish picked up his interest in cigars from his father.

"There’s something about smoking a cigar," Harnish said. "It’s not like smoking a cigarette. It’s not like vaping or anything like that. It’s a certain feel you get."

That feeling is one of achievement, celebration and relaxation, he continued.

"There’s a reason why champions — basketball or football or whatever — they smoke a cigar while holding the trophy," he said. "It’s a successful thing. You feel like you’ve accomplished something, and you celebrate by smoking a cigar."

Harnish does not claim to be a cigar aficionado, but said he’s learned plenty about stogies over the years and enjoys educating people who are unfamiliar with them. He has hung informative posters in his shop with the hope that no one will ever feel uncomfortable coming in, no matter how much of a novice they are.

And Maduro on Main has 300 different kinds of cigars for him to pull from to aid in that education. The inventory ranges in price from $4 to $30 apiece. He keeps most of them in a walk-in humidor of Spanish cedar walls, ceiling and shelves kept at a balmy 70 degrees and 70 percent humidity to preserve their flavor and moisture.

"A cigar can last in here for 20 years if I keep that right," he said.

Outside the humidor are shelves of fedoras and racks of short-sleeved button-up shirts for sale in the spirit of the late cigar tycoon Arturo Fuente Sr.

"I’m not really going after that three-martini power broker lunch thing," Harnish said. "I’m going after the guy sitting on his back porch or on his boat or at the golf course — that cigar smoker, the relaxing cigar smoker."

A statue of a Native American woman made exclusively for Maduro on Main is part of the shop’s decor. If she’s outside, that means the shop is open, Harnish said.

Maduro on Main also sells humidors, ashtrays, lighters and other smoking accessories along with products like shaving creams and beard balms.

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Maduro on Main

Address: 11 S. Main St., Fortville

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays