Vital Stats: Anthony C. Shurman, 33, of Yosha! Enterprises Inc.
Company: Westfield, New Jersey-based mint-maker
2004 Sales Projections: $15 million
Return Ticket: Pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer Inc.'s acquisition of Warner-Lambert Co. prompted Shurman- marketing and sales manager and "gum-and-mint guy" in the Warner-Lambert candy division- opt for the severance package and go into the mint business himself.
"Coming across these mints before the big guys was a stroke of good fortune for us."
Big Find: His initial concept-packaging that allows smokers to tuck breath mints into their cigarette packs-became more appealing when Shurman came across a process to produce tiny, liquid-filled spheres that pack a punch. In an arena largely consisting of tablet-shaped mints, Shurman is confident of a shake-up with his creation, Momints.
The Blues: Packaging options like thin containers that slide into tight spots and petite glass vials have enticed club owners and retailers such as 7-Eleven and CVS, which carry the blue orbs. "There's never been a good- looking mint," Shurman remarks on his product's unique, pearl-like appearance.
Smaller Is Better: "I know the way the big guys operate. I have an opportunity to be faster, to take paths they cannot and will not take," he says. "They look to buy proven, [smaller-scale] products in the market and roll [them] out on a large scale. Having seen that from the inside, I realize this can be a lucrative market."