I was actually thinking things are picking up slowly. There are more people attending then 8 months ago but, yes, still less then 2-3 years ago.
I do absolutely agree that we've become 2nd class in the shop. We are frequently moved and bumped because of some cigar event (even if it ends up the event is canceled as with the last meeting). That turned me off big time. I never even thought to look around for other pipe meetings but I did this month. Just to see if anyone else was closer to me or had more pipe focus.
Although I look forward to going because I enjoy sampling Russ's blends and relaxed conversation, we really don't even need to have a "club" to do what we do. What we do is the same thing everyone else in that room does on a daily basis. Go in, find a chair, smoke, and chat.
I'm always hoping we get a a quick lesson/education, some show and tell of new pipes (since they now hide 3/4 of their inventory from the customers that would rather buy in store then online), and maybe some planned outings sprinkled in to spread things out. If we had a session of 30 minutes to an hour then time to discuss at the end that would be great and I know I could get more people to come check it out.
I realize each time I go and buy a couple cigars that my pipe hobby is much cheaper. I'm not sure what the markups are on these items to say how much more profitable cigars are to pipes and pipe tobacco but I assume that me spending $3.00 on pipe tobacco that lasts me 3 weeks is not as profitable as $12 on a cigar (which I bought 4) Maybe they aren't making enough off me to get their attention. Maybe they need to offer us more ways to be entertained and spend a reasonable buck in the shop to do it. Its all about the business, I understand that. We need to find a place in the middle that keeps us entertained (with "some" money left in our pockets) and them interested in entertaining us.