Jimmy Lentz has been a key member of the Garner Foods team for many years. His work as our special event manager paved the road to helping us connect our brands to the loyal customers that have made us successful. In many ways, Jimmy has been the face of Texas Pete® that people have interacted with. Whether through trade events or special community engagements at football games, concerts, or other celebrations, Jimmy has been there to make sure our loyal customers can enjoy collaborating with our brands and our team. We spent a little time with Jimmy to learn more about his work and his perspective on all things Garner Foods.
Brashears: When did you begin working for Garner Foods?
Jimmy: I started as the Special Event Manager on October 11, 2004. Working as the special event manager was an amazing opportunity. I was spending a lot of my time on the road at special events around the country like the Taste of Chicago, college football games (official hot sauce of the SEC for 10 years), SXSW (South by Southwest) Festival, Summer and Winter X-Games, and all kinds of trade events. I loved getting to meet so many of our fans and professional partners and sharing the spirit of Garner Foods with them.
Brashears: What attracted you to the Garner Foods organization?
Jimmy: My uncle had been a broker with Garner Foods in the past and knew the position was coming available. I had always loved Texas Pete® because it was around everywhere in our family. So, I was excited to get an opportunity to apply for the position. I interviewed with some of the top leadership and got the job after a few months. Their main interest was my ability to represent the brand in any circumstance and it was obvious that this was a position that was very important to the leadership team—as I’d be representing the entire organization with end-users and business partners. It meant a lot to me that they were so involved in making sure I had what I needed to best serve their customers and make a great impression on behalf of their brands.
Brashears: What was your prior experience before coming to Garner Foods?
Jimmy: I worked for a fruit juice company as a territorial representative before working with Garner Foods. It was a completely different culture than the one Garner Foods has developed.
Brashears: What do you love about working in the food industry?
Jimmy: My mom’s side of the family has always been in the food business. We’ve had grocery stores and worked as brokers, distributors, and several other roles within the food industry. One thing I’ve always loved about the food business is that people are always going to eat, and people have a passion for it. It is always evolving and changing, but it is consistently a part of everyone’s life. I also enjoy that the food industry feels like a small industry even though it’s so huge. The people you meet, and the relationships you build will likely be long-lasting. I love the reputation Garner Foods has in the industry too. They are very loyal, and they are known to be a genuine relationship-based company.
Brashears: What are your favorite ways to unwind and recharge?
Jimmy: I love seeing live music, spending time at the lake, watching my son play baseball, watching sports (Wake Forest is my team), supporting my daughter as she grows her cheerleading skills, and hanging out with my family and friends.
Brashears: What’s your favorite way to help or inspire other professionals around you?
Jimmy: We just have great camaraderie at Garner Foods. We work hard to get everyone involved in finding the best opportunities for our brands. We respect each other’s insights and expertise and work together as a team to make sure we are creating a brand experience that serves our customers’ expectations and is true to our founder’s beliefs.
Brashears: What is your favorite food or cuisine?
Jimmy: I’m not picky when it comes to food, I’ll try anything. I do love southern foods, steaks, barbeque, etc. I also love trying new kinds of food. From sushi to great French cuisine, I love it all.
Brashears: What are your top 3 favorite places to travel?
Jimmy: I really love Nashville, TN for its music, entertainment, and culture. I love Austin, TX for its culture and vibe as well. I like Los Angeles a lot too, it’s such a diverse place. My wife and I took a cruise around Greece after we got married. We loved it and enjoyed the history and new foods around there. We also love the Caribbean.
Brashears: What is a professional goal you have for 2022?
Jimmy: To see our new Texas Pete® popcorn have a very successful launch. I’m also working on some other licensing agreements that I’d like to see grow and succeed. I work in the FL and TN markets on the foodservice side and want to see them continue to grow. 2021 has been busy and I’m looking forward to seeing those plans and programs begin to grow and pay off. 2022 is looking to be a great year.
Brashears: What was the last Garner Foods product you used?
Jimmy: Texas Pete® Original Hot Sauce last night. I also use a lot of the Cha! by Texas Pete® Sriracha Sauce.
Brashears: If you could have been born in any era of history, what would you choose and why?
Jimmy: In my grandpa’s era (1921) before WW2. I don’t know that there will be another generation like them. I have a ton of respect for the people that lived at that time and the things they accomplished.
Brashears: If you were going to write a book or some other piece of media, what would it be about?
Jimmy: It’d be about classic cars. I love old cars and the history around them.
Brashears: What are you binge-watching right now?
Jimmy: Just got done watching the Braves win the world series, so that was the last thing I really “binged.” That’s been a long time coming, so that’s been my obsession. What a great series!
Brashears: What is your favorite musical artist?
Jimmy: Classic country is one of my favorite genres. I love the new guys that have that sound too. Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers, Sturgill Simpson, etc.
By David Brashears, Public Relations Director