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1996 Inc. 500 #420, 471

A joint venture between Gina R. Day, Rockies Brewing, and Tony Silva, Corporate Systems Group

The Concept: Franchised cigar boutiques. Customers would select from different tobacco leaves, and the store would hand-roll custom cigars.

The Rationale: There's a renewed interest in cigars, and not just among men: chomping on a stogie is no longer seen as unladylike. What's more, highly bankable celebrities like he-man Arnold Schwarzenegger and supermodel Linda Evangelista have puffed quite publicly.

Reality Check: They still stink.