FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
II, page 191, 1923.
ALVAREZ, MARIANO. One of the largest institutions in contributing to the fame of the Tampa
district as a cigar manufacturing center is A. Santaelle and Company, not only one of the
largest, but one of the most perfectly equipped cigar-making establishments in the world.
The managing partner of the company for a number of years has been MARIANO ALVAREZ, a man
who grew up in the cigar making industry and knows every detail of manufacture and is a very
successful executive as well.
Mr. ALVAREZ was born in Spain, December 24, 1873. As a youth he learned the trade of cigar
making at Havana, Cuba, and in 1889 when a youth of sixteen he came to Tampa. He continued
work at his trade in the factories of the Tampa district. Twenty-two years ago the Santaella
Company was organized, and Mr. ALVAREZ was the first foreman of the industry. From that he
promoted himself to his present responsibilities as manager and one of the partners. This
is the largest cigar manufacturing plant in the city. At times its pay roll has reached as
high as $30,000 per week. During 1918-19, this company manufactured over forty-five million
cigars. Its leading brand is the widely advertised "Optimo", a cigar of standard quality
that is sold and distributed in every state of the Union. The factory is a large four-story
brick building 50 by 285 feet, and one of the largest in the state devoted to cigar making.
The maximum of a thousand people can be employed in the factory. Four traveling representatives
are on the road all the time. When Mr. ALVAREZ started with this industry there were only
twenty-two cigar makers, and in recent years the number has aggregated eight hundred.
Mr. ALVAREZ has other interests in Tampa and is one of its very progressive citizens. He
married in 1908 ELISA GUNSALFUS of Spain. They have two sons and one daughter, MARIANO, Jr.,
FRANKIE and ELISA. Mr. ALVAREZ is affiliated with Tampa Lodge No. 708 of the Elks, the
Woodmen of the World, Rock Point Golf Club and the Y. M. C. A.
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