ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – For 24 years, Abilene tobacco connoisseurs have had a place to purchase their cigars, relax and make friends. However, The Leaf remains a Hidden Gem of the Big Country as many customers say it’s more than just a shop to them.

Jay Patterson, co-owner of The Leaf, told KTAB/KRBC that in life, most people have home and work, and that’s why a source of connection to people with similar interests is so important.

“This is where different circles of life intersect,” explained Patterson. “you also need a third place, and that’s where you decompress.”

That is what Patterson is providing for some locals through The Leaf. 

“It’s just an eclectic set of different types of people, but we all enjoy the same thing, and that’s premium tobacco,” Patterson said. 

Patterson wanted to invite anyone to join for cigars and coffee. Although this gem is more geared towards a specific set of people, he said he finds the importance in being able to cater to the community – much like the different coffee shops around for coffee lovers.

With more than 100 suppliers, The Leaf boasts 131 selections of pipe tobacco and 1,738 different types of cigars.

One employee, Robert Clay, said he came into The Leaf so much that he decided to get a job there. 

It was the atmosphere Patterson curated that drew Clay in, “It’s not a job, it’s a love.”

Clay described the tobacco shop as not only a place where you can buy cigars, but also make a friend. 

“Jay is not a boss. He’s a friend,” Clay bragged. “He will literally give his shirt off his back.”

This store has been around for a while, and Patterson said he’s worked to keep what the originals owners envisioned in mind; a place where everyone is known and cared for, no matter where you work or where you come from. 

The Leaf has a lounge at the front that is open to anyone, but if you enjoy The Leaf, they also have a members-only lounge you can be a part of. 

The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 6:00 in the evening.