History

(L to R) Former proprietor John “Duke” Cox alongside current proprietors John Anderson and Matt Krimm.

W. Curtis Draper Tobacconist, has been a Washington DC, institution for over 127 years. Draper’s, the third oldest tobacconist in the U.S., was founded in 1887 by William Curtis Draper. Mr. Draper remained owner of the shop until 1946, when he sold it to an employee, Mr. William Martin. Mr. Martin was an accountant by profession, but had been helping around the shop for a number of years. Bill Martin was owner until 1990, when he passed away, leaving the business to his wife and an employee of over 20 years, John “Duke” Cox.

In 1999 John Anderson, an employee of Drapers, and Duke bought the remaining shares and become the owners. 2004 Matt Krimm joined the Drapers family as an employee and subsquently in 2005 he and John Anderson became owners upon Duke’s retirement. In 125 years Draper’s has only known five ownership groups, a small number in this era.

The most important ingredient to our longevity, is our dedication to customer service, along with the ability to provide a relaxed and friendly environment for our patrons. We have been called on more than one occassion, one of the last gentleman’s tobacconists.

This business is still about forming relationships. That philosophy extends, not only to our customers, but also to the cigar manufacturers and their representatives as well. We were chosen in 1970 to introduce the Macanudo line, to the U.S. market. We also worked very closely with the Fuente family, helping them get their products out, thereby creating demand and recognition. We were one of the first shops to carry the Fuente Hemingway Signature cigar. The Signature was the only size made in that line for a few years. This cigar did not initially sell well, so we gave them away as samples. The rest is, well, history. Now people all over the world, search, in vain, at times, to find these cigars. Drapers was also one of the original Davidoff appointed merchants.

Patrons at the May 2010 “First Firday” event celebrating Draper’s 123rd Anniversary.

We have always offered a full array of accessories for all smoking needs. We were one of the first shops in the country to feature Savinelli pipes. Draper’s is a full-service tobacconist offering cutters, lighters, humidors, loose tobaccos, tinned tobacco, rolling tobacco, and many other hard to find items.

Being in DC has been exciting and rewarding for us. Where else can you be in a shop with Congressmen, FBI agents, visiting dignitaries, Supreme Court Justices, lobbyists, heads of business and bike couriers? All of them sharing a passion for a few minutes of camaraderie and peace during a busy day.

Much of our success has been derived from Bill’s foresight. He implemented a mail order program, which made the Draper name well recognized throughout the country and expanded the business. Fifty four years later we are starting our own new program, an internet site, that we hope will not only grow our business, but be a fun and informative site for our customers and friends. We hope not only to welcome you to this site, but at some point welcome you into our store. If you plan on being in the Washington DC area, please click on the locator icon for directions. We hope you enjoy our latest venture.

– John Anderson & Matt Krimm