Of all the incredible things Giants accomplish once they move on from the moving industry, Jake Sweeney and Adam Benezra’s quest to help people successfully quit tobacco with their business, Jake’s Mint Chew, is one of the most impressive and successful of all.
Jake Sweeney (L) and Adam Benezra (R) at a Gentle Giant holiday party.
Today, Jake and Adam are hard at work constantly improving their mint chew business, but they have come a long way since their days working on the trucks at Gentle Giant.
Their story starts when Adam was working at a rival moving company in Boston during the early 90′s. After a short period on their trucks, he realized he was surrounded by ex-convicts and other untrustworthy people, which made him think, “there has got to be a better moving company in Boston with better people.”
A friend told Adam about Gentle Giant, which during that period in the early 90′s was really hitting its stride within Massachusetts because of the focus on hiring honest, hardworking college athletes looking for a challenging but rewarding work. Not long after Adam started at GG in the Spring of 1994, he met Jake, who had started working at Gentle Giant a year before under Bobby Lane, focusing on complicated international moves. Oddly enough, the two attended UMass Amherst at the same time, but didn’t know each other because Jake was busy studying at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture while Adam was busy studying finance and the mating habits of inebriated coeds.
Working together on a few moving jobs around Boston formed Jake and Adam’s friendship, but it wasn’t until they took a road trip down to New Orleans with Eddie Crean, a Giant enjoying his first summer over from Ireland, that their relationship really strengthened.
They remained close even after they left Gentle Giant to start their own businesses. Jake followed in the family greenhouse business and before long was the go to wholesaler of greenhouse products on the North Shore. By 2009, Jake oversaw several greenhouses, including a 10,000 sq ft flagship greenhouse in Beverly. However, tragedy struck in the winter of 2009/10 when an ice storm took out this main greenhouse, which put a nail in the coffin of a business already hit hard by the financial woes the country was suffering from during that time.
Jake's Mint Chew
Down, but not out, Jake decided to depart from the greenhouse business and focus on a venture he had begun thinking about, Jake’s Mint Chew, which was a mint snuff designed to help people addicted to harmful tobacco snuff.
Given his background with the greenhouse, Jake was comfortable focusing on customer service, phone orders, making new flavors, and hiring, but he understood that he needed help with other areas. Realizing this, he called on Adam, his old friend from Gentle Giant, to help him with the website, shipping, payroll, and other financial responsibilities.
The partners recall their first “business meeting” back in 2009 at a local Beverly bar called Fibber McGee’s in which Jake carefully laid out the plan for his mint chew business. Adam instantly saw the product’s potential as a healthy, safe option for people looking to kick their tobacco addiction.
Because the pair had worked together so well during their time at Gentle Giant, they already knew how to motivate and compliment each other on the job. Now embarking on their third year working together at Jake’s Mint Chew, the company has grown exponentially, and expect even further growth now that they are USDA Organic Certified and showing up in more and more Major League Baseball clubhouses.
Jake and Adam look back very fondly at their time moving at Gentle Giant, and still keep in touch with all of the great people they worked with during the early and mid 90′s, some of whom have made a career at GG.
For more information on Jake’s Mint Chew, visit their website at www.jakesmintchew.com and tell them that Gentle Giant sent you!