Our Fifth Year… How Did We Get Here?
The most common question that I hear at our product tastings is, “How did you get into the gourmet popcorn business?” Even after four years of popping, I often ask myself the same thing!
The CrunchDaddy story didn’t begin with a perfectly envisioned start-up plan or a family legacy in the popcorn business. My career had mostly been spent behind the scenes in radio and TV production for places like CNN and national talk radio shows. Everyone in my family shares a passion for cooking and entertaining, but my experience in the food business was limited to waiting tables, managing a pizza joint in college and occasionally catering events for close friends and family… none of which involved popcorn.
Somewhere in the mid 2000’s my brother, Mike, shared a recipe for making caramel popcorn and we were both fascinated with it. It was simple and the results were yummy… but I rarely find a recipe I like that can’t be tinkered with or improved. The jazz musician in me loves improvisation.
That original caramel popcorn experiment morphed into a dark rum vanilla caramel popcorn drizzled with dark chocolate, made as holiday gifts for coworkers and family… and the reactions to it blew me away. As thrilled and humbled as I was with how much people loved it, I didn’t give much thought when they said, “You should go into the popcorn business and sell this stuff!”
Some time later I had my first taste of kettle corn during a visit to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania and soon realized that I could make my own kettle corn at home. Experiments with kettle corn lead to more discoveries, seasoned varieties and other departures from the standard method that were shared with willing taste testers at work and Friday night happy hours at my sister’s home in Columbia, Maryland. By that time I had a body of original popcorn recipes, some winners and some losers… and a growing crowd of voices encouraging me to pursue gourmet popcorn in order to satisfy the entrepreneurial itch that I had for so long.
By early 2011 I decided to take the plunge and start building this thing that we now call CrunchDaddy Popcorn. We launched our original website on January 1, 2012 and the rest is gourmet popcorn history.
While I’m a sole proprietor in this business, I always say “we” because I have had a tremendous amount of help in making CrunchDaddy Popcorn what it is today. Friends, family and perfect strangers have generously given their time, advice and materials in ways that I could never have imagined. The stories of how people have helped me to get this business off the ground and make the products the best they can be could fill a book. I have been truly blessed and I thank God every day for each of them. They, along with thousands of satisfied customers comprise what I affectionately refer to as “The CrunchDaddy Family.”
CrunchDaddy Popcorn is now in our fifth year. In many ways, I feel as though we’ve just begun. Thank you for being a part of it!