Cannabis Industry Success Stories Featuring BeneLeaves’ Bill Williams, CEO

The cannabis industry has a way of bringing people together from all walks of life. Many of us set off on our journey from different industries and vocations, giving rise to a diverse tome of origin stories. Our paths have led some of us to become commercial cultivators, cannabis processors and manufacturers, and others into the dispensary and retail business. (And let’s not forget those championing vertical integration.)

Mr. Bill Williams, Jr., CEO of BeneLeaves boasts one of these fantastic stories, which begins in 1989 with a company called Glory Foods.

Glory Foods and the Legacy of Bill Williams, Sr.

Bill Williams, Sr., a visionary restauranteur of authentic flavors and African-American cuisine, envisioned bridging the gap between home-cooked meals and busy lifestyles. He and his partners founded Glory Foods and a food manufacturing powerhouse was born.

Bill Williams, Sr. co-founder of Glory Foods
Bill Williams, Sr., co-founder of Glory Foods.

Several years later in 1992, Williams’ assortment of convenient, delicious soul food options started with a small line of pre-seasoned canned vegetables. Each can of carefully crafted foods contained the childhood memories of home-cooked meals filled with vintage, African-American aromas and flavors. Williams’ commitment to using authentic ingredients and recipes resonated deeply with the community, and Glory Foods soon found itself on shelves across the country.

Delivering Comfort Beyond the Kitchen

Bill Williams, Sr.’s mission to improve people’s health and lives encompassed more than his culinary expertise and stretched far beyond grocery store shelves. He was a champion for the local community, sourcing 80% of his produce from farms within 150 miles of Columbus and supporting local farmers while ensuring fresh ingredients for his products. He also actively contributed to the advancement of African Americans in the agricultural and business sectors.

Williams Sr. passed away on December 27, 2001.

Entrepreneur. Restaurateur. Champion of minority struggles. Bill Williams Sr.’s love for quality, excellence, community, and family will be remembered for generations. Straight away, his son — Bill Williams, Jr. — left his life in Boston and returned to Columbus, Ohio to join the Glory Foods family business.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

It would seem Glory Foods had a way of gathering not only remarkable talent but also entrepreneurial kindred spirits. It was from Glory Foods that the couple, Jeff and Peg Hollenback took an unexpected leap from renowned chefs into the sprouting world of botanical, medicinal offerings.

Even before their time at Glory Foods, the Hollenbacks were no strangers to meticulous work. Their previous venture, a successful catering company, honed their skills in flavor exploration and precision. The Hollenback’s time in foodservice and their sharpened manufacturing skills from their time at Glory Foods paved the way for the creation of a cannabis processing business that would garner a best-in-class reputation not only in Ohio but nationwide.

In 2017, the Hollenbacks founded BeneLeaves, a company that would combine culinary and scientific expertise with the power to provide relief to those suffering from a multitude of ailments.

What do these two stories have to do with cannabis? I’m glad you asked.

Growing a Business With Strong Roots

Peg and Jeff Hollenback, founders of BeneLeaves, partnered with Bill Williams not long after launching the cannabis processing and manufacturing company. This would be the second time their paths crossed (initially, at Glory Foods). Together, they quickly established BeneLeaves as a leader in the state’s cannabis processing scene. Their dedication to pharmaceutical-grade standards shines through in their diverse product range, from gummies and chews to vape pens, lotions, and capsules.

Bill Williams, Jeff Hollenback, and Peg Hollenback proudly posing for a picture at their cannabis processing facility.
BeneLeaves partners Bill Williams, Jeff, and Peg Hollenback team up in a venture that would change lives with transparent business practices, high-quality ingredients, and a love for their community.

Notably, they prioritize transparency, offering detailed product information and ingredient lists, fostering trust with patients and healthcare professionals. Beneleaves manufactured top-shelf cannabis products; they had nothing to hide and everything to be proud of. Trust in their brand grew, as did patients flocking to dispensaries when they knew a shipment of BeneLeaves’ products arrived.

A Pharmaceutical and FDA/USDA-Compliant Facility Paves the Way

As we bring 2024’s Black History Month to a close, we’re proud to spotlight BeneLeaves’ Bill Williams, Jr., CEO of BeneLeaves. His family history, aptitude for business, and teamwork skills provide a mold for cannabis processors across the country. And his partnership with the Hollingsworths has forged a business whose story is deeply mingled with community and a desire to help others.

BeneLeaves’ journey has just begun and is growing as an inspiration to aspiring cannabis manufacturers. With Bill William, Jr.’s leadership and the Hollenbacks’ vision and culinary expertise, they continue to expand their product offerings and patient reach. Their commitment to excellence and social responsibility positions them as a key player in shaping the future of Ohio’s medical cannabis landscape. And they prove to be a botanical lighthouse to cannabis processors nationwide.

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