Archive for 2008

ood-Fay annel-Chay Kettle Corn segment

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Velma spotted this segment on kettle corn last night. Thought I’d toss it up here so everyone could see it. Here’s what I thought:

The cooker looks certainly well built. (I’d say even better than my North Bend. It’s by the Ye Old Kettle Cooker guys.) I’m not crazy about the big brass bucket concept. I certainly LOOKS nice. I’ve never used one, but from what I can tell, you’re dumping very hot kettle corn on top of ready to bag kettle corn. With the North Bend trough, you can push the cooler stuff down and away from the popper and bag it while you’re dumping the hot stuff at the other end. I’ve considered using an even bigger one, that way you can easily have two people bagging while you’re popping.

What the hell gives with that foot pedal whistle? Popping a load of kettle corn already makes a ton of racket, why would you need to make even MORE noise after all that? Steve was doing a similair thing with a pair of scoops. He would bang them together and scream KETTLE CORN after a fresh load. I had to throw scalding corn oil on him to make him stop.

I make these sort of lifestyle video segments during my other job. I was snickering to myself when they showed those two jamokes eating the stuff and giving their feedback. They’re probably the sound guy and an assistant producer. You can tell they weren’t actually selling the stuff at an event, but just dragged a popper and a tent out into the parking lot for demonstration purposes only.

Coming soon: The “How To Start Your Own Kettle Corn Business” online training course! I’ve been researching online affiliate marketing, and I think we’re qualified to make a “how to” guide on kettle corn. With affiliate marketing, YOU can sell this course on your website and you’ll basically get half of the proceeds! More on this to come.

Other news: OK, we’re getting tons of orders online for the Christmas rush and we’re popping a fresh round every time we get about 10 orders. Normally we get a lousy 2 orders a week during the rest of the year, so it’s weird getting so much demand all at once. This happened last year too. Once Christmas is over, we’ll stopping and getting ready for:

The Hawaiian trip for the month of February! As you might’ve seen last year, we did a month long tour of Florida, attempting to make kettle corn for the geriatric crowd. This time we won’t be popping kettle corn in Hawaii, but checking out the farmers markets out there and doing a few reports about the possibilities. More on this in the next post.

Feedback from Fenway Park

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

On 11/25/08 5:32 PM, “s***.p******” wrote:I did find your website and although that may be what I am thinking I have nothing to gain by saying either way. If you think writing this stuff helps you sell then good luck.

LOL! Hey look..ya found me! Well yes, in fact writing this stuff *DOES* help me sell kettle corn. Did you notice that I’m the top non-sponsored link on Google for the keyword “kettle corn”? Or did you search for “Fenway Park kettle corn”?

[after checking with Google and typing in “Fenway Park kettle corn”]

Doh!! I show up at the top, right after the company that makes your popper. Your Palumbo Kettle Corn, right? Down near the middle of the page.

The next time you are at Sam’s club have a look at the ingredients label on the “vegetable oil”. You can type so I assume you can read- it says 100% soy.

Aaahhh…OK. I guess soy oil is more appetizing than vegetable oil.

After selling over 45,000 bags at Fenway this year and another 20,000 – 30,000 at our other events/ locations I tend not to concern myself with what other people think. Happy Popping.

Now…if you’re not concerned what others or what *I* think, then why did you send this email?

[going back and re-reading what I wrote in the blog]

Fenway kettle corn

Now, the comment “I wouldn’t feed this stuff to the squirrels that come to my porch” was referring to the Popcorn Indiana crap, right? I hope we both can agree on that.

I’ve tried making kettle corn with the oil you’re using. *In my opinion*, it isn’t as good as corn oil. It certainly costs less. I’m sure some drunk in the bleachers would never know the difference.

I also thought your popper wasn’t making kettle corn as fluffy as I like. *In my opinion* I’m sure the Boston fire department would have something to say if you had upped the temperature with propane.

In fact, I’m jealous that your sales numbers kick my ass *AND* you got other people to make the stuff (like as dope, I personally make every bag that I’ve sold) I think you’ve got a great operation. If I see you at SAM’s club again, I’ll make it a point to hide behind the wide screen TV’s.

Update: 11/27/08 – Steve wrote back! Here’s what he had to say. (He seems like a good guy about all this.)

The reason I responded to your comments was, as you noted, I actually met you. If you check on the web for blogs and other comments, you can find and endless amount of “stuff”. Yours was the first that I read from someone I actually knew or met which is why I decided to write.

I agree about the Indiana Kettle Korn (Dale and Thomas). It is a company that has way too much money and is using it to push their way around. Good for them. It is obviously working for them as they sell despite of their quality. At least there is still room for guys like us.

You are right about the temp. Being indoors, I had no option at Fenway. Electric was the only way they would let us go. You have to admit- the bat was a pretty clever idea…

We get, like I am sure you do, some people that want the kettle korn more salty, some want more sugar, some less… we stuck with what works. The whole Fenway experience helps sell anything, not that I think we put out a bad product.

This was all in good fun. I have thick skin and do not get exited about what other people think (as I mentioned). Being at Fenway for the last 3 years has been fantastic. Our contract ended at the end of last season. We will see what the future brings. Good luck with your business and if you do see me again at Sams, you should hide…. kidding. It would be nice to say hello again after having this exchange.

Good luck.

Final day of the season!

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Sign last day We got rained out on our last day of the season at Springfield. There must’ve been a bunch of sad faces down there – but hey, the mortal enemy of fluffy, dry kettle corn are buckets of water pouring constantly on to the operation.

Guess what was the busiest day of the season at the Framingham Farmers market? Yup, it was this last day! We popped more on our final day than any other day during the entire year. People were loading up. Not sure how you would get a couple of bags to last 6 months.

We’ve now been popping here for 2 years, and it’s following the same pattern we discovered at the Springfield Farmers Market. The crowd slowly builds and becomes loyal customers. It doesn’t become lucrative until after the 2nd year.

We’ll continue to pop at home and will be selling the stuff online at least until January. We had a pretty good run last year before Christmas for online orders as presents. We’ve got to explain to our customers that the stuff doesn’t keep too long, so ordering early and leaving it under a tree is not the best way to spread kettle corn joy.

Steve has potentially lined up one last popping gig at his teaching job in November. We’ll see if it happens and you’ll get to see what went down here at this blog.

I’ve also been getting a bunch of email from people who are interested in getting into the kettle corn biz and want free advice from me. I’ve been thinking of doing a complete “inside scoop on the kettle corn biz” manual. How much does it cost to set up, what’s the profit margin, etc. Somebody did a crappy .pdf like this and sold it on ebay a while ago. It was the only thing I could find before I got started in all this. It would be something that would lay it all out for you if you’re considering getting into the biz.

Next adventure: we’re going to Hawaii for the entire month of February. We’ll be checking out the farmers markets and see who’s making kettle corn out there. I found somebody online who was doing it on Oahu. I’ll be doing another blog post here on where we’re staying and what will be happening.

Velma Kaczynski

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

Velma Kaczynski

Well, we’re wrapping up the kettle corn season here in New England. Startin’ to get colder but people still want their kettle corn damn it. People love to huddle around the tent NOW, unlike those 98 degree days we had this summer. Steve and a few other people have tried to line up gigs for November. Like I want to make this stuff in the snow. We’ll see.

Next week is the final week for both our Framingham and Springfield locations. I’ve had people get bitchy on us if we miss a popping day due to illness or rain. Let’s see how they handle cold turkey kettle corn with drawl this year.

The Old Manse Fall Festival, Concord, MA

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Our big gig this week was The Fall Festival at the Old Manse in Concord, MA. It was a Saturday gig, first time they’ve held it, so who knew what was going to happen. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, I thought Joni was a health department official looking to shake us down out at our Framingham location when she courted us to make an appearance.

Popping kettle corn at the Old Manse

The significance of The Old Manse is that it’s located next to the Old North Bridge which was the location of the start of the Revolutionary War. Velma has more details in the video. Wadda ya know, another New England event with people dressed up in period costumes! It’s almost like us Yankees normally dress like this.

I didn’t realize that buses of tourists would be pulling up and dumping loads of foreigners amongst our midst. (Many were disappointed that we weren’t selling corn on the cob, boiled right in a kettle. Jeez.) Who knew there were that many people interested in a look-a-like bridge with only rock walls and trees to see. There seemed to be many British tourists coming through. I wonder if they were thinking, “Damn, if only our soldiers kicked their asses back then, this could’ve still been OURS.”

Robert McCarthy & Heather  KentBack at the Framingham Farmers Market this week, we crossed paths with Robert McCarthy and Heather Kent of Castle Kettle Corn in Oregon. They had sent me an email a couple of months ago saying they loved this site and had all sort of stories to tell, then never really told them – until now. They had some fascinating things to say about popping in Mexico and how they managed to pull it off. They were doing something like our Florida trip, pop some of the time and enjoy the rest of the time. I guess they’ll be giving me updates as they go along and hopefully I’ll be posting them here. Here’s a video of them popping at the Olympic Trials and at the San Francisco Summer of Love 40th Anniversary.

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