The first tobacco trade businesses belonged to Ottoman, Armenian, Jewish and Greek tobacco merchants, members of the diverse national communities that coexisted in the Ottoman Empire.

The composition of the tobacco workforce itself was also multicultural. The non-discrimination between the workers of the diverse nationalities is clearly stated in the charter of the Tobacco Workers International Union that was based in Kavala (1908).

The first big company that settled in Kavala in the middle of the 19th century was the House of Allatini, the well known Italian family of Thessaloniki. Later, the House was renamed into "Commercial Company of Salonica Ltd", and relocated its headquarters in London.

The Abbott Brothers moved from Thessaloniki to Kavala in 1858 and in 1884 followed the French Monopoly of REGIE (In the building that nowadays hosts the Mall).

The Austro-Hungarian "The Oriental Tobacco Trading Company Ltd" (M.L. Herzog et Cie) based in Budapest settled in Kavala in 1890. At the same period, another company, of English interests this time and with its headquarters based in London the "N. Mayer et Cie Ltd" also opened a branch in the city.

In 1901, the "American Tobacco Company"(ATC) moved in Kavala together with "Alston", "Gary", "M. Melachrino", as well as the Jewish "Schinasi Bros" which had its headquarters in New York.

More or less at the same period, the Cairo tobacco industries of A. Chelmis, K. Doulgaridis, N. Tsinaklis, M. Melachroinos, Demetrios and the Armenian O. Matossian founded some great tobacco Trade Houses in Kavala. Actually, in 1910, the great companies (Commercial, Herzog and ATC) were employing 6,000 workers in their various Warehouses.