Quality tobacco products since 1901.

The Hickey Brothers store that sits at 130-18th Street in The District of Rock Island, IL is a remnant of an empire that once stretched across mid 20th-century America.

On this page you can read about the storied history of what was once one of the Quad-Cities biggest success stories.

The Hickey Brothers story (Click on photos to enlarge. Press "N" for Next, "X" to close.)

William Augustus Hickey was born in Davenport, Iowa on July 21, 1883, the son of Dennis and Sarah Hickey. In his youth he and his brother Dennis sold newspapers in Davenport. Together they saved $745.00 with which they opened their first cigar store, at 123 E. 3rd Street. The year was 1901 and William Hickey was seventeen years old, and his brother was 12. From this small beginning the brothers branched out by acquiring and opening other cigar stores, as well as hotel cigar stands, forming Hickey Brothers Inc.

Hickey Brothers Cigar Stores were a national institution for over half a century. Much of the success was due to the policies of William Hickey. He started with a unique customer relations policy: "If Hickey Brothers ever forget to say thank you, your purchase is free." He insisted upon displaying merchandise attractively and maintaining courteous and efficient service. Because of these policies, most of the finer hotels of the country permitted Hickey Cigar stands in their lobbies.

The Hickey colors were green & gold. Correspondence was always typed with green ribbon, on stationary with a green letter head. Store receipts with the familiar Hickey Brothers logo were printed in green and gold. A fleet of green Chevrolet panel trucks were used to deliver wholesale orders, and he owned a chauffeur driven green Cadillac.

The finest store in Davenport had to be store No. 8, which Hickey opened in 1917. It lit up the northeast corner of 2nd and Brady Streets like a movie theater marquee. It was the principal store in the nationwide Hickey chain, and was more like a club than a cigar store.

On June 7, 1943, William Hickey announced that his company had secured a long lease for store sixty-six at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, Cuba.

Hickey Brothers also controlled the wholesale tobacco market in all of eastern Iowa and parts of western Illinois. The wholesale business was managed by D. J. Hickey Sr., father of William Hickey and Dennis J. Hickey Jr. Hickey had five salesmen on the road eager to call on customers.

Reorganized as one of the nation's top dealers in retail and wholesale tobacco trade, William Hickey served as a director of the Retail Tobacco Dealers of America for fifteen years. After holding the office of vice president and treasurer, he was elected president of the association in 1949.

By 1951, Hickey Brothers had become the nation's third largest cigar store company with one-hundred thirty stores in sixty-eight cities and nineteen states, ringing the nation like a giant cigar band. Annual sales volume soared from $12,000 in 1901 to $7,000,000 in 1951.

On April 14, 1951, Hickey Brothers celebrated a golden jubilee of the nationwide cigar store chain with a large banquet for their friends and employees. William Hickey addressed the three hundred fifty people in attendance. He spoke about the last fifty years, and how he hoped the Lord would be good enough to permit him another ten years in the business. He was cheated by four years.

Davenport, Iowa was shocked with the news, on March 19, 1957, that all one-hundred fifty-six stores of the familiar institution had closed, after rising to become one of the three largest cigar store chains in America.

In 1997, 40 years after its demise, Clinton, IA native Michael King revived the Hickey Brothers name when he opened a Cigar store and Hookah lounge in the same location as the famed store No. 8 in Davenport. In 2000, Hickey Brothers Cigar Store & Hookah Lounge moved to its present location in Rock Island, IL where it continues to serve afficiandos of fine, premium cigars and hookah.