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The Smoking Dog
Cigars, Tobacco and Accessories
“Community and people are key,” Jonnette Kraft said. “Treat them right and they’ll treat your right.”
Kraft has owned the Smoking Dog cigar shop for nine years, almost all of that time in Maple Shade.
“We offer hand rolled premium cigars with experts to help you enrich your experience,” she said.
Kraft served for 21 years in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard and it was there she was turned on to cigars.
While she was on duty at the Fresh Kills Landfill there was a group of military and other personnel that would smoke cigars together and they introduced her to the art of cigar smoking.
“It was quite funny when I came home on my day off and told my husband we had a new hobby – smoking cigars,” Kraft said. “He was shocked because I hated smoking.
“I had to explain to him this is so much different,” she added. “It is a relaxing meditative breathing not really smoking at all.”
Kraft said she would recommend Maple Shade to someone looking to open a business here.
“This community is very supportive,” she said. “The township is very supportive and that is huge.”
Kraft said the greatest challenge the Maple Shade Business Association faces is “big government hurting small business.”
“Big government hurts us with their rules and regulations,” she said. “They project their morality on us as a business.
“People enjoy having a cigar once in a while and it is not up to the government to regulate us out of existence or tax us to the point that the state and tobacco businesses lose money to Pennsylvania and Delaware,” Kraft added. “The sin tax and regulations are not equal in anyway with any other business.
“They attack legal substances,” she continued. “If they hated them so much make them illegal.”
Kraft said the MSBA is not affected by the regulations she mentioned.
“I am sure our association is not in jeopardy from big government as it is very well run and everyone does a great job working together in the township,” she said. “I really am so glad we opened our doors in Maple Shade – everyone has always been so supportive.”
Kraft grew up in Kansas and Texas and graduated from Sweetwater, Texas.
She and her family have called Westampton home “for 20 lovely years.”
In her spare time, Kraft enjoys gardening, art, quilting, knitting, and smoking cigars.
“Customer service is key.”
That’s what Mike Bimmer says is the most important thing he’s learned when it comes to business.
Bimmer owns MB Solutions, a full-service merchant services company that has been in the Shade for eight years.
He is a partner in Voxedge, a VoIP phone company and is the purchasing agent for Mohawk Computers, a managed IT company.
Bimmer said he started MB Solutions as a “spin off” from his banking days and takes pride in providing excellent customer service to the merchants he serves.
He was in the banking industry for 20 years, starting as a branch manager and working his way up to senior lender for a small bank. Bimmer also owned a barcoding company for more than 10 years with his son-in-law and sold it to a company in Atlanta.
He said one reason he would recommend Maple Shade to anyone looking to start a business here is that the town government is business friendly. Bimmer has served on the Maple Shade Zoning Board for more than 25 years.
He joined the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2013.
Bimmer served in new business development and then as an ambassador for the past year. He is proud to say he built MB Solutions through networking at the chamber and the Maple Shade Business Association.
Bimmer serves on the board of directors of the MSBA and currently is the treasurer. He said he joined the association for its networking potential.
Getting business owners to see the value of joining is the greatest challenge the MSBA faces, Bimmer said.
A graduate of Holy Cross, he grew up in Maple Shade and has lived here for more than 60 years.
Bimmer coached and was treasurer of the Maple Shade Babe Ruth league for many years and currently coaches the JV CYO basketball team at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school.
He said he likes to golf in his spare time.