Steve Zengel, the owner and founder of Los Caidos Cigars has passed away. At this time, an obituary states he passed away suddenly on Sunday April 23, 2023 following a brief illness. No other information is available at this time. His wife Lori made this post on Facebook a few hours ago:
“We lost our rock. Our Big Z/Stevie Z/Steve/dad left us suddenly on Sunday night. We have lost our cheerleader, our protector, the dad of all dads and the one who made us laugh and live life to the fullest. We will never be the same. Our FamJam, as he called us, is forever changed. I am sharing here because his network of friends was huge and I want to make sure you know. Do something he would have loved to honor him. Smoke a cigar. Take the trip. Eat at the expensive restaurant. It is unbelievable that this huge personality is gone. Our grief is immeasurable. We don’t have a plan yet to honor him, but I will share it when we do.”
Los Caidos is a brand that began in a retail store called Beach House cigars in Wall, New Jersey. The brand has two cigars: Los Caidos Red, which helps raise money for firefighters and Los Caidos Blue which raises money for police officers.
This is the story as told on the Los Caidos website:
“We started as a retail cigar shop about 1,000 feet off the Atlantic Ocean in Seaside Heights, NJ and officially opened our doors on March 10, 2012 just in time for the local favorite St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Things were going well and we were growing, from one humidor and nine boxes of cigars to three humidors and almost 200 offerings. Our growth was largely because we set out to make the world a better place, one cigar at a time. So, every time we were called to help out, we went, and people started hearing about us.
Then, Sandy hit that October and we were done in an instant. It took us some time but we found a new place, about 15 miles north, in Steve’s hometown of Wall, NJ. One of the first employees in the new place was a retired law enforcement officer from Wall, NJ who happened to be one of Beach House Cigars’ biggest supporters. In several conversations over cigars, Steve learned of the brutal and tragic deaths of two local law enforcement officers, Christopher Matlosz, a Lakewood (NJ) police officer and Marc Castellano, A New Jersey State Trooper, both of whom were killed approximately 10 miles from the new location.
And, just as the foundations Steve was helping served their respective causes such as lymphoma, kidney disease, and pre-term health defects in babies, many local police and fire organizations were, too, raising money for their respective charities, most of which financially supported family members of Fallen police officers and firefighters. Again, Steve jumped in to help.
But, it wasn’t enough. The families needed $20,000 and Beach House Cigars was giving $200. Then one of Steve’s closest friends who is also a successful franchisee of Jersey Mike’s, Matt Catania, suggested that Steve create a national cigar brand and give back a portion of every cigar sold just as Jersey Mike’s gives back through sub sandwiches. When Steve asked how much they gave back, Matt responded with one word… “Millions!”
Within a few months, Beach House Cigars was shut down and Los Caidos was born!
We started with only 500 boxes in 2016 and they sold out within that year. Steve hopped on his Harley-Davidson in October of 2016 and went from Jersey to Los Angeles and back in only 13 days, trying to raise awareness of Los Caidos and Life of a Ridetime, a 501(c)(3)having a sole purpose of raising money for, and distributing funds to, family members of Fallen police officers and firefighters. It was a great learning experience.”
We want to send our deepest condolences to Steve’s family and friends during this time. He be remembered for his contributions to the world and for being an amazing man.