Prime Time International Company: Smoking the Competition through Innovative Products

Prime Time International Company’s (PTIC) has a lot to celebrate in 2013, as it marked 20 successful years of business. PTIC offers an innovative line of cigars and cigarillos sold nationwide in over 75,000 retailers, as well as 15 countries worldwide, making the Phoenix-based manufacturer one of the largest producers of tobacco products in North America. PTIC also operates 21st Century Brands LLC, which owns and distributes its E6-branded energy products as a subsidiary to round out the company’s services.

Jim Emery founded PTIC in 1993. An entrepreneur through and through, Emery applied his experience as a foreman in the manufacturing industry and business know-how through his tenure as a general agent of a life insurance company to establish PTIC. Emery noticed that many people he encountered were closet smokers, hiding their smoking habit. This insight is where Emery’s idea for the single cigarette came about, which was also the company’s original name: Single Stick Inc.

“We saw a need for cigarette consumers that either didn’t want to purchase 20 cigarettes at a time or wanted to control their cigarette consumption to be able to purchase cigarettes one at a time,” says Emery. “The challenge was to deliver a solution to this need and make it compliant with the regulations.”

PTIC started out as one of the first tobacco manufacturers to package and sell Emery’s product. The industry embraced Emery’s single-stick concept; and the company evolved from a small family-owned entity to one of the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

However, in 1998, cigarette laws changed, making single packaging impossible. At that time, the company was forced to shift focus to cigars. “We evolved into a flavored cigar producer, finding that adults liked more than the harsh taste of tobacco,” explains Jack Wertheim, chairman of the board at PTIC. “We saw the market for flavored, milder cigars. As a result, we grew from a small mom-and-pop company to something fairly sizable.”

Throughout all of PTIC’s growth over the years, the company remains headquartered in Arizona with a manufacturing plant in Stantonsburg, N.C. The company employs 110 team members who make it possible for PTIC to manufacture products at a capacity great enough to distribute products around the world.

Pioneering Packaging and Flavor

The company is committed to delivering the highest quality, best-tasting tobacco products on the market. PTIC creates profitable merchandise for retailers and wholesalers alike. According to Wertheim, PTIC’s seasoned sales team pays close attention to consumer trends and market changes. PTIC supplies products that its partners can feel confident about selling at their establishments.

The company’s brands rank No. 1 in Canada and are sold across the U.S. at national retailers like 7-Eleven. “From early on, we’ve been the pioneers in our industry when it comes to different flavors and packaging,” details Wertheim.

PTIC’s diverse product portfolio includes the ever-popular Prime Time Flavored cigar (Prime Time) family. Touted America’s Favorite Flavored Cigars, Prime Time ranks as one of the most well-liked little cigar brands in the U.S. The small cigars come in a variety of flavors, including blueberry, cherry, vanilla and watermelon, among many others. The product offers a distinctively smooth, mild taste with a hint of sweetness and comes in unique displays ideal for resellers. As PTIC’s slogan states: “It’s the Right Time for Prime Time.”

PTIC also produces the Smoker’s Choice Sweets large filtered cigars, Smoker’s Choice MAX non-filtered cigars and sparrow pipe tobacco. PT Rillos are the latest edition to PTIC’s brands. Unlike anything else on the market PT Rillos come with a re-sealable “guaranteed fresh” FreshPak pouch.

Aside from its focus in premium-quality cigars and cigarillos, PTIC’s subsidiary company 21st Century focuses on pocket-sized energy shots and strips. “We’ve introduced the E6 energy strip product that dissolves in the mouth for people on the go,” shares Wertheim. “The product is in its early stages, but it’s been successful so far. In about three months we’ll be introducing more of this strip technology.” The E6 energy strips are packed with B vitamins, amino acids and blended with just enough caffeine to sustain energy and focus for hours.

While PTIC manufactures all of its own tobacco products in-house from its 80,000-square-foot North Carolina-based plant, the new energy products need to be outsourced. “It’s really important to manage our supply chain,” adds Wertheim. “It helps us manage quality control. Knowing who you’re working with is always a good thing.”

Since its founding, PTIC has noticed market trends and created products unlike any other tobacco manufacturer, giving the consumer more than a cigar but an experience. Prime Time International Company continues to lead the industry after 20 years of successful business.