About B&B Tobacconists


In 1979 Bruce Barnes retired after over 30 years in radio sales. He began in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and finished his career in Asheville. At age 70 he wasn’t quite ready to begin the life of an easy chair pilot. One Saturday he told his two sons and his wife that he believed Asheville was the right place for an old time, complete smoke shop. Within a month Bruce’s Pipe Shop was born.

The first location was in an old motel at the intersection of Merrimon Avenue and Edgewood Road. It began slowly, but soon Bruce’s reputation as a straight shooter and insightful merchandiser brought in more and more customers. The first pipes sold were Alpha’s. These pipes were from a wholesaler whose home was also in the North Carolina mountains. Savinelli and Peterson soon followed. Bruce’s moved to its current location in 1984. When Bruce died in 1991 his wife took over and ran the business.

David, the youngest son, helped when his job allowed. Mostly this was on Saturdays when an assortment of regular customers gathered to tell tales and solve world problems. One of the customers, Mike, suggested that the Saturday gathering needed a name and proposed to call it the “Liar’s Bench” or “The Saturday Morning Bunch.” Now nearly every day an eclectic group of men and, sometimes women, gather to swap tales and have friendly arguments. Doris became ill in the Fall of 2000 and in early 2001 David began running the business after retiring from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

As the months passed and it became apparent to the Barnes’ family that Doris would not be able to recover enough to come back to the shop, plans began to save the shop from “going out of business.” Months passed, attorneys were employed, arguments and discussions with various governmental agencies conducted, and finally a decision was reached.

Mike Booher and David began a new chapter in Bruce’s story on June 1st, 2002. Mike is a professional photographer and has been published in National Geographic Magazine, Popular Photography Magazine, Smokey Mountain Living Magazine, and many others. He was the only photographer allowed to be continually at the site of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse relocation. Subsequent to this he wrote a book called Out of Harm’s Way. https://www.amazon.com/Out-Harms-Way-Americas-Lighthouse/dp/1885457154

Another partner, Jeff Showers was on board for a bit. David had met Jeff while Jeff was a Special Agent with the FBI. They became friends and when Jeff retired he came aboard for several years.

Currently Charlie Davis and Terry Levi work with David in the shop. Charlie is a licensed chimney sweep but has decided to get into the pipe and cigar business. Terry once owned a pipe and tobacco shop much like B&B. The three guys have kept B&B Tobacconists as Bruce would have liked it.

The shop maintains the best prices and service in the area. We are steadfast in our belief that the customer is always right. Friendly, “no pressure” service is our promise from the only old time tobacco store in Western North Carolina. Y’all come see us!!!

-The B&B Gang