Archive for 2007

Florida here we come!

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

FlamingoOK, here’s the plan: get the hell out of this cold New England weather. (Velma and I have done this sort of thing before.) I pull the 5th wheel RV trailer with our giant pickup truck while Velma pulls the kettle corn trailer with our Ford Escape. We plunk ourselves down in a few spots in Florida and attempt to sell kettle corn at a few farmers markets. We’ll be in St. Augustine for 10 days, 1 month in Naples and 1 month in St. Petersburg/Tampa. There was a reason why I never had kids and I am my own boss. Freedom to do exactly this.

We’re considering doing this on a regular basis. Summer up north, winter down south. We’re going to focus on finding an area that we really like and maybe finding some property there. It always bothered me that your job usually dictates where you live. Damn it, I want to find a place that I like..THEN find a job. With kettle corn I hope to create my own job at this new spot.

We did a Florida trip a couple of years ago. We moved about on a weekly basis, trying to get a good overview of the whole state. We had created these silly flash movies of our exploits, you can see them all at: On The Road With The Dacrons.

We’re taking 5 days to get down there. The first stop will be St. Augustine. We really liked it the first time down there. We probably won’t be popping any kettle corn. We managed to reserve the same spot as the first time! Here’s a youtube version of what we did:

Next spot will be Naples for 1 month. We like what we see for climate stats – warm all winter. We also like all the wildlife in the everglades. There’s a couple of farmers markets in that area and I’ve already contacted them about popping there. Here’s what happened last time:

Then it’s off to St. Petersburg near Tampa for 1 month. There’s some farmers markets through there. We would also be in striking distance of the Orlando area, so I’ll have to see what’s available for popping locations. We only took a peek at Tampa last time through Florida. It seems to be closer to more stuff, thus more opportunities to find sales. If anyone reading this has any suggestions on where to make kettle corn in these areas, let us know!

Rehab starts in 1 week!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

OK, that’s it…the year’s over for Springfield and Framingham Farmers markets! The line we were giving out all this week and last was “kettle corn rehab starts in 1 week!”. Last year we were huddled next to the kettle trying to keep warm and hoping to move a few bags, this year we’ve been running out of supplies at the end of the day. I’m pretty sure this last day at the market was the busiest day we had all year. (People stocking up for winter?) I was starting to recognize our customers from the amount they buy – woman from dentist office across the street: 4-5 large bags. Heavy set man that I addressed as “THAT guy”: 4 small bags. It was kind of amazing that business picked up near the end of the year. I know everyone else at the market was having a hard time just selling year-end pumpkins and potatoes. Steve and I joked that we could’ve set up next week by ourselves in the parking lot and attracted our usual crowd.

The lady in black came back!! (See the previous blog post to get all the details) She brought me a present…a DAY GLO scarf! (knew she was a hot shit) I asked her if her family thought it was odd that she was wearing all black that day. She said that they were too busy clawing at all the free kettle corn to notice. Will we ever know her name? Not this time, she still wanted to be known as only the “lady in black”. Velma has now been wearing it and getting compliments. At least I got this picture I’ve posted below.

Day Glo scarf

What’s next for kettle corn? I’ll be getting ready to drag everything down to Florida to do some popping for the winter! Stay tuned for more details.

Behavioral Modification Experiments (on customers)

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Colorful clothes There is this one woman in Springfield who has been buying our kettle corn all summer long. I’ve always called her the colorful lady because she only wears bright, colorful clothing and has sections of her hair colored with big chunks of bright color. You would think I’m talking about an 18 year old, but I would put her around Velma’s age. At this point, I have no idea what her name is.

I’ve started to compliment her about her funky choice in colors and I’ve looked forward to seeing this one person arrive each Tuesday. I’ve learned that she’s a creative type person and she’s very sharp and “with it”. On day she even had her daughter with her and SHE had chunks of color in her hair. The joke as told: she inherited her mothers hair color. (Bright pink)

As I’ve gotten to know her over the summer I’ve decided to push my boundaries a little and started to “taunt” her that if she REALLY was a colorful person, she’d wear something Day-Glo for me and I would reward her with a free bag of kettle corn. She found this intriguing and seemed up to the challenge.

Lady in blackOver the course of a few weeks, she never arrived with any day glow and I expressed my disappointment. She said she thought she had something with Day-Glo (not just a trinket or scarf, but either a full top or bottom) but couldn’t come up with the goods at this time. I then gave her another challenge: how about if you wear ALL BLACK one day? This would be completely opposite of what she normally does and it may even disrupt the “fabric” of things around the market. She thought that it might be too cliché for an artsy person like herself to wear around town. I dared her again and pulled out the big guns: 3 FREE LARGE BAGSS OF KETTLE CORN if she does.

Next week arrives; she did it! We had a laugh and I said that she shall now be know as “the lady in black” (even when wearing a polka dot dress). Pavlovs dogShe agreed that by getting kettle corn for wearing black, she fell into a Pavlovian experiment where she will now associate a yummy and content feeling with the color black. From now on, she may actually salivate when she thinks of a little black dress. All these conflicting feelings when she now looks at her colorful wardrobe! I find this pretty cool that I can now influence people with my sinister tools of power…large bags of kettle corn! [insert evil laughter here]

Everyone’s a critic

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Mr GumbyI get this in my email recently:

Your video was cute…BUT, as a fellow kettle corn vendor, I\’m not quite sure what you were thinking when you handed out the recipe to anyone and everyone. The recipe is what sets us apart from the others. Keeps \’em coming back for the better corn. Heck, NorthBend doesn\’t even give it out for nothing. You have to buy their equipment to get it.

I reply:

So how do you keep the secret from the people who are watching you make it? Do you pop behind a curtain perhaps? When someone asks you what is inside your product, do you reply with “it’s a trade secret”?

Let’s list in necessary ingredients for well made kettle corn:

* Popcorn
* Sugar
* Corn Oil
* Salt
* $6,000 15,000 BTU blast furnace kettle.

The point of my video was you COULD attempt to make it at home, but it’s not going to be very good. (thus, buy mine)
When giving out samples, do you just drop one kernel into a customers hand, or do they get a whole 3 or 4?

They send this back:

Having customers “watch” you pop is different then handing out the recipe world wide. Like I said….Northbend doesn’t even hand it out. Doesn’t that tell you something.
When someone asks, of course we say corn, oil, sugar and salt.
And why would anyone give out just one kernal of corn as a sample?.
I guess the vending business is much more competetive here then it is in your part of the country.
Good luck with your business….

Exacerbated, I reply with:

Let’s go over the NECESSARY ingredients one more time…

* Popcorn
* Sugar
* Corn Oil
* Salt
* $6,000 15,000 BTU blast furnace kettle

Now let’s go over the ingredients for making cotton candy:

* sugar
* $6,000 cotton candy machine

Did ya notice the one ingredient which isn’t readily available to everyone worldwide in both these cases? Look really hard…it pains me if I have to type it out for you.

When someone asks, of course we say corn, oil, sugar and salt.

terroristMy God you’ve giving away the recipe! How do you know a terrorist wasn’t buying a bag from you? They could’ve posted it all over the internet. CHILDREN could’ve gotten their hands on it.

And why would anyone give out just one kernal of corn as a sample?.

It’s called sarcasm.

I guess the vending business is much more competetive here then it is in your part of the country.
Good luck with your business….

I guess you’re from down south. [*]
Good luck with your business….

I get this bundle of joy back:

Thats right….you make popcorn during the day, and to make ends meet, your a comedian at night. I should have known by your last name.
Poor guy, you must have been teased a lot as a child.
That explains everything.
Nice chatting with you.

I retort with:

LOL!

OK, let’s review out relationship so far:

You contact me first to scold me on giving away the precious secret of kettle corn to the masses.

I then attempt to point out that it’s impractical to make kettle corn at home, thus..having just the recipe is useless. I then imply that you’re perhaps anal retentive about all this.

You miss that point and my second point. You then imply that I must not be as skilled at making kettle corn as you are because of my location.

I reiterate my original point then clarify my second point. I then take a wild guess at your location.

You now postulate if I’m a comedian, make fun of my last name and attempt to draw out any guilt from my childhood.

Why did you start our correspondence again?

[* I apologize to everyone down south. Some of you guys work at NASA.]

Russell’s Garden Center in Wayland, Massachusetts

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

A person approached me at the Framingham Farmers market about selling kettle corn at the Russell’s Garden Center Farmers Market in Wayland, Massachusetts. They were all torqued up about our product and thought it would be a really good idea to pop there on Wednesdays. (I guess it would be easier if they didn’t have to schlep all the way over to Framingham if they wanted to snarf kettle corn in Wayland) :-)

Russell's Garden Center Farmers Market

I contacted Peg, the event coordinator at Russell’s and was able to get in on the last day of the season. I wanted to see how it would feel and what the layout was like. It ended up a grey, drizzly day and I wasn’t expecting too much of an outcome.

Kettle corn cloudWhole bunch of cool people there, they weren’t selling the same ol’ veggies. I normally give out plenty of freeby bags to the poor people who end up parked next to me. There’s a descent amount of smoke and freshly popped kettle corn “stench” blowing around the place, so I like to placate everyone with a bag. I noticed a “kettle corn cloud” was drifting onto Route 20. Cars would drive through this, get a good whiff of the “stench”, stop, turn around and come back just to get a bag of kettle corn. Normally you’ve got to get the fresh stuff into their mouths before you can make a sale. (It’s what I call my “hard sell” tactic.)

It was a pretty descent day…seeing that no one knew I was there and with the weather threatening to turn it into a crappy day. Did more than the first day at Springfield or Framingham. Lemme see..do I want to sit in an office next year on Wednesdays or come here? Hmmmmm….


Copyright © 2014 Velmas Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn. All Rights Reserved.