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The Aquilian

A senior’s experience with cars, candy and commerce


For many, the defining moment of their teenage years is getting to drive for the first time.  This privilege showcases both a monumental responsibility and acts as a glaring sign of maturity as kids begin to turn into adults and become more independent.  While some teens do have their surprise car dreams fulfilled on their 16th birthdays, many end up puttering around in the family minivan. However, senior Jacques Pelletier was not going to succumb to this reality.

As a fashionable member of the class of 2020, Pelletier has a reputation for his sharp outfits and even the occasional ascot during formal dress days.  This trend continued to his transportation as he set his sights on a 1964 Ford Thunderbird.

Senior Jacques Pelletier completes a sale with Christian Garagusi, senior.

In a joint effort with his father, Pelletier worked out a deal to purchase his dream car.  He would sell Hi-Chews, a sweet and chewy candy, at school to pay for some of the initial cost and restoration fees of the vehicle, while his dad would finance the rest.  

“I remembered a fellow classmate selling me some freshman year, and I saw them again during the beginning of my junior year when I walked past them at a grocery store. The idea just clicked together from there.”

During the fall of 2018, he began his business.

“I [was] loaned $100 from my dad, after some convincing, and bought my first twelve cases of Hi-Chews. […] My plan was just to sell during class, and that’s what I have been doing for the past year,” Pelletier said.

Initially, Pelletier brought in about $100 each week.  He would buy in bulk from a source, which will remain a “company secret” before selling each pack for $2 a piece.  The Hi-Chew market soared in popularity, and even some teachers would indulge in the candy.

The success wasn’t this lucrative consistently.  When sales started to dip, Pelletier knew something had to change. 

“I saw that there was a decline in sales once the initial hype of Hi-Chews died down,” Pelletier said.“To combat the issue of stagnating sales, I lowered the price of some of the less popular flavors from $2 to $1. I have also, recently this year, introduced a mix and match option where customers can select up to four different flavors, and five or 10 depending on whether they spend $1 or $2. But now profits are steady, as I have a loyal stream of customers,” he said.

Pelletier in his car

Eventually, Pelletier purchased his car and is now saving up to fix the exhaust.  However, the vehicle wasn’t the only prize he gained from his sales.

“I have been able to take from this experience some things like how a small market works, but most importantly, I learned how to sell and pitch a product,” Pelletier said.

“Jacques confidence as a salesman has always impressed me. I wouldn’t trust anyone else but him to deliver these high-quality chews,” said senior Bill Smolskis.    

The payoff of a muscle car is pretty nice, but Pelletier seems to have gained a leg up on the competition in the years to come.  With this marketing experience, he’ll be one step ahead.

For others trying to start a small business or raise money for any event or organization, Pelletier says that an open mindset is the most valuable asset to have.

       “I’d say set your expectations low and just be patient cause not everything you are going to try is going to work,” Pelletier said.

It’s easy to get caught up in the physical and financial achievements of Pelletier’s journey, but the lessons he took from it are just as, if not more, valuable.


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