Combining trail mix and beef jerky in one bag? Sounds weird. We love it. This combination is what separates Dick Stevens — it’s an entirely new snack concept as no other snack on the market does this combination.
In February 2014, Dick Stevens sold its first case to Smoothie King in Dilworth and its second case to Smoothie King on Woodlawn Road. Today, the snack is in almost 2,000 locations nationwide – still with a lean staff of 10 full-time and seven part-time employees.
You got to love that founder Jeff Eckert went from Chicago food commodities trader to a Charlotte-based jerky mix entrepreneur. That’s one heck of a career change. Here’s how Jeff works.
Founder and President of Dick Stevens Brands
4937 Chastain Avenue, Charlotte NC 28217
What do you actually do?
I run a bustling two-year-old start-up company with some amazing employees. Together we manufacture and distribute Dick Stevens Jerky Mix across the whole country!
I drive and it takes me about 45 minutes each way — mostly because so many people run into each other on I-485.
What do you do during your commute?
I try to not talk on the phone, but that never happens. So, I am usually on a call or trying to listen to my radio way too loud (which is what I prefer!).
Apple Macbook Pro and my very best friend.
Gadgets you can’t live without
I hate to admit that it’s my phone, because I hate being so addicted to needing to respond to everything instantly.
Do you listen to music while you work?
We have the radio on always as to avoid those awkward (but seldom) quiet times. Right now some old Journey song is playing.
What’s your favorite spot for a business lunch? Your order?
That’s easy! Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Their German Style Knockwurst with the Farfalofatofikin but never without Team Fist Ham!
Social media habits
Scrolling through Twitter looking for something interesting but usually finding very little. In my opinion, Twitter seems to be the next MySpace.
To-do list manager
Christine Eckert (my wife)
What everyday thing are you really good at?
Distracting myself and getting off track then back on track.
Best time-saving shortcut or Charlotte life hack
Use every foot of the merge lanes because it seems most Charlotte drivers start to merge as soon as they see the first sign.
I seem to sleep better if I eat Justin’s Peanut Butter (straight up). If I wake up in the middle of the night, I head straight to the peanut butter. You haven’t lived until you have tried Justin’s Peanut Butter or Dick Stevens Jerky Mix.
Where do you go around Charlotte to get away from the office?
You can take the small business owner out of the office but you can’t take the office out of the small business owner. My boys play travel baseball; that is my best escape… a weekend full of baseball.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Dick Stevens new “top secret” Jerky Bar. Possibly the best product ever.
If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing?
Working with Carol Hardison at Crisis Assistance Ministry because that is such an amazing organization. That or I would be a rodeo clown.
Best job advice you’ve received
Fail fast and forget it. Linger on the lesson; don’t fixate on the failure.
Last movie you watched (grade it on a A-F scale)
Jurassic World; I give it an “A” because it was the perfect family movie night at home with my wife and five kids.
What’s one thing people don’t know about Charlotte that they should?
That Dick Stevens was born here — true story!
Is there anything else that we didn’t ask that you’d like to tell our readers?
If you haven’t tried Dick Stevens Jerky Mix, you haven’t lived!
What other Charlottean would you like to answer these questions?
Jamie Waldron, Outreach Director at Elevation Church.