Saturday, October 11, 2014

Joel Cheek and Maxwell House

Joel Cheek the coffee’s originator was a former horseback salesman of wholesale groceries who has a remarkable gift for marketing research.

In 1873, at the age of 21, after college, he left his Burkesville, Ky., home and headed south to Nashville to seek his fortune.

He knew that America was ripe for a mild and uniform coffee flavor produced by blending several types.

Within a year he was peddling his own coffee in the area. Among his clients was the plush Maxwell House of Nashville, which catered to everybody from itinerant musicians to European nobility.

In 1892, he believed he had found the perfect blend. He approached and convinced the management of one of Nashville’s best hotels, the Maxwell House, to give his latest blend a try.

The reaction of Maxwell House guests to the new coffee as so enthusiastic that the hotel owner decreed that no other brand be served in his dining room, and Maxwell House brand coffee was born.

When Joel Cheek started his coffee business in Nashville, it was a modest business indeed.

But it was good coffee - so good that the Maxwell House, famed for food and hospitality, would serve no other brand.

Joel Cheek prospered, first as Joel Cheek & Sons, later as a partner in Cheek-Neal Co. Joel Cheek proved to be a promotional and advertising genius as his push to associate his coffee with socially prominent landmark indicated.

By 1914 the 61 year old Joel Cheek had become a very wealthy man. He was elected vice president of the National Coffee Roasters Association.

In 1928, Maxwell House was sold for the multimillion sums to Postum Co., late to become General Foods.
Joel Cheek and Maxwell House

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