MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce members have the chance to travel to Cuba, and business owners feel it's yet another step in the right direction.
As the United States starts to rebuild a relationship with Cuba, and more and more people are allowed to travel there, some local business owners wonder what this could mean for the future, and can't believe how far the relationship has come so fast.
"Well a year ago I would have said to you, it may take a long, long, long, long time," Nick Goebel said.
Now, Goebel, the owner of Nick's Cigar world, no longer feels trade with Cuba is impossible.
"I'm not so much on that train of thought, I'm thinking things are happening fast, and they might just keep on happening fast," Goebel explained.
With a huge percentage of his customers seeing Cuba, Goebel says a lot of people have been expecting Cuban cigars.
"Every single day somebody asks me about Cuban cigars," he added.
Workers at the shop say more than ten people asked that question on Tuesday, and Goebel thinks any organized and permitted trip to Cuba, whether it be for the chamber, a church group, or school trip, could move prospective partnerships along.
"As far as the Chamber taking people down there, or church groups, you know that's all things that will help get the trade embargo lifted," Goebel said.
As of now, some could travel to Cuba by request for business, educational, or family reasons, and Goebel admits, he too has been thinking about it.
"I'm part-owner in a cigar manufacturing company, and I have talked to our president, and said how soon do you want to make that trip to Cuba to try to find a factory down there?" Goebel explained.
Goebel knows he's not the only one thinking that way, especially in the cigar business, but remains hopeful it could someday be a reality.
"If it keeps up at that pace, I wouldn't be surprised if the president asked Congress to lift the trade embargo," Goebel said.
The trip for chamber members is planned for November while CCU's basketball team will be heading there in just a couple of weeks in August.
As for the hope to someday trade with the country, Goebel says it's hard to say when that next step would come, but hopes it could be just months.
"There will be a frenzy to try and get Cuban cigars, and cigar stores are going to want to get their hands on them, customers are going to want to get their hands on them, there's going to be a shortage for years to come that's why I say, I'll probably run that dog for two years maybe three or four," he said.