How many times do we hear companies tout that a certain product is “New and Improved”, only to find out that it really doesn’t taste or perform any better or any worse than it already had?
Well, dear friends… We at CrunchDaddy Popcorn are proud and excited to tell you that we’ve been hard at work to improve one of our classic, original savory flavors, White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch. At long last, we’ve nailed it!!
“But if it’s classic and original, why mess with it?”
The truth is that while we love cheddar cheese on our popcorn and go crazy for horseradish, we have had a terrible time sourcing horseradish that has just the right taste to make this flavor a winner on a regular basis. Horseradish lovers crave the fiery sensation that it brings to the palate… and when blended with fine cheddar cheese it can be heavenly.
Unfortunately, horseradish can also be terribly bitter when not processed properly. Perhaps it has to do with the region in where it is grown, the soil, the moisture or other factors that only a horseradish expert would know. All we know is that the taste of the horseradish that we purchase for CrunchDaddy Popcorn varies wildly. The inconsistent quality has made it terribly difficult to produce a product with the flavor and heat that our customers demand and without the medicinal bitterness that horseradish can bring.
Frankly, it’s been maddening… to the point that we nearly discontinued the product!
Yet, we love challenges… and we don’t give up that easily! Thus, we decided to approach the flavor in an entirely different way. Per customer demands, we knew we needed more of that classic horseradish HEAT, the kind that wakes your taste buds and makes your eyes water just a bit!! Beyond that, we needed a more consistent quality of horseradish that was free of the bitterness that was too familiar to us.
After some research, consultation with a horseradish expert (by luck!) and some late night experiments in the CrunchDaddy test kitchen, we’re proud to tell you that White Cheddar & Horseradish Crunch has evolved… Truly “New and Improved”, with all of the great taste and zesty spice that our customers have asked of us! This flavor is one that deserves a place at your next cocktail party!!
CrunchDaddy Popcorn opened for business at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2012. Today we are celebrating the completion of our first six months in the gourmet popcorn business! I’m awed and amazed by the entire experience!
Opening a small business like CrunchDaddy Popcorn means taking a jumbled mess of ideas, distilling them, organizing them as best you can and then executing them in such a way as to bring those ideas to life in the form of a tangible product that people will enjoy. In my case, the fundamentals of CrunchDaddy Popcorn were formed in my mind back in 2007. Reluctance, uncertainty and fear of venturing out into the world of entrepreneurship kept me from marching ahead with those ideas. Thankfully in early 2011 I found the will and determination to give these ideas and dreams the treatment that they deserved. I’m so happy that I did!
Throughout 2011 I also found endless ways to forestall the execution of my ideas for CrunchDaddy Popcorn. I knew very well the failure rate that is associated with start-ups and wanted to do everything humanly possible to insulate myself and my business from any such failures… and I did it to the point of delaying the opening of the business until each and every possible scenario and contingency had been predicted, accounted for and planned for.
I have a close group of friends who act as business mentors, advisers and a marketing coach. One friend in particular was keen on seeing the “big picture” and observing my behavior. Several times a week I would send him an email of some popcorn flavor idea, a widget I discovered on-line or some fragment of a marketing idea that I could use for the business I had yet to open. His usual response was, “That’s great. When are you gonna make some popcorn?”
In his kind and indirect way, my friend was nudging me to stop seeking solutions for every potential issue that I could face and simply to “Do it!”, as the Nike ads say. His previous experience as a business owner had taught him what I now understand as an entrepreneur of only six months: Experience is the best teacher. It is impossible to predict and prepare for all of the learning experiences that you will encounter once you execute your plan.
With only half a year of experience under my belt in running CrunchDaddy Popcorn I am reluctant to wax philosophically or speak as though I am qualified to mentor others in their business pursuits. However, I can admit to having a much greater understanding and appreciation for the wisdom found through reading books on entrepreneurship and listening to the wisdom of those with experience. For someone who has compiled pages upon pages of ideas, notes, product catalogs, logo ideas and research materials, the mantra of “just do it” sounds like a load of inspirational nonsense written for the sake of selling books. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur let me assure you that it’s not.
Experience is your best teacher.
After six months I’m proud to tell you that CrunchDaddy Popcorn is a success! We’ve been truly blessed by the enthusiastic response to our products by customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The worst fear when going into a business like this is, “What if people don’t like it? What if no one buys it?” I knew within a matter of weeks after opening that those fears were not to be realized. To the contrary, we’ve been blown away by the efforts made by our fans to spread the word to other people, to share our products and to re-post and re-tweet our messages. We even have a core group of CrunchDaddy fanatics who have become repeat customers three or four times over! No amount of pre-opening business planning and number crunching could ever account for this kind of organic growth. We’re truly awed and humbled by all of it.
We are especially grateful to each and every one of you who have shown support for CrunchDaddy Popcorn. No matter how big or successful this venture becomes, I will never lose my appreciation and fascination for the fact that so many people have entrusted us to provide them with products and experiences that are of value to them. There would be no CrunchDaddy Popcorn were it not for you. Take a bow, raise a glass and know that you’re part of a special group of people.
We plow ahead into the second half of our first year with more enthusiasm than ever! A round of several new flavors will be announced shortly as well as some new packaging options. CrunchDaddy Popcorn will soon be available for wholesale distribution as well. Wholesale marketing is something completely new for us, but we’re moving ahead with it and looking forward to many lessons learned. Just do it!
Take care and God Bless!
Chief Crunch Officer
Oh, sweet cupcakes… How I love thee…
Now that I am a small business owner and an aspiring food specialist, I enjoy walking into a new food business and taking in the sights and smells, feeling the energy and the passion that it took to build the establishment. You can’t help but let some of that excitement rub off on you and be inspired to even greater things in your own business or dream of ways that this business can enhance your life.
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Adell Cothorne and Bill Kerlina, owners of Cooks ‘N Cakes in Ellicott City, Maryland. Cooks ‘N Cakes specializes in cupcakes… Excellent, fresh-baked and decadently yummy cupcakes that scream, “EAT ME!”
Did I mention that the cupcakes are awesomely delicious? (I say this as I wipe the last of the marshmallow frosting from the corner of my mouth… what’s left of a “S’more Please” cupcake, pictured front/left above).
Say what you want about food fads and the recent rise in popularity of cupcakes. There’s always room in any town for a bakery that can produce fresh products like this, cupcakes that should shame the big chain grocery stores from producing the nasty stuff that they expect us to buy, adorned with rainbow sprinkles and day-glo frosting.
Pictured above are just four of the many flavors that Cooks ‘N Cakes provides:
- front/left: S’more Please - Devils food cake and marshmallow frosting with graham cracker crumb topping
- front/right: Banana Split - Banana cupcake with strawberry and chocolate buttercream frosting and a cherry
- rear/left: Berry Good - Vanilla cupcake filled with strawberries, vanilla buttercream frosting and a strawberry on top
- rear/right: Something’s Bacon - Cornmeal cupcake with bacon infused maple buttercream, garnished with bacon
I admit to thoroughly enjoying each of these cupcakes! Hats off to the chefs for creating these little delights that each have a unique character and taste to them! My favorite was the “Berry Good”… an exceptionally light vanilla cupcake with a delicate buttercream and really showed-off the baker’s skills.
Four flavors down… and how many to go? I can’t see making another trip down Rt. 40 in Ellicott City without stopping in to Cooks ‘N Cakes to try even more flavors. If I need a quick gift or a dessert for unexpected guests, this place will be on my short list, for sure!
Cooks ‘N Cakes is located in at 9251 Baltimore National Pike (Rt. 40) in Ellicott City… In the same building as the big Starbucks. Skip the over-priced baked goods at Starbucks and take home some cupcakes!
The word of the day is "lagniappe", as it comes with every order made from CrunchDaddy Popcorn!
We include a little something extra with each purchase, usually a sample or two of other flavors or a free upgrade to a larger size of something that you ordered (Did you think that was done by mistake? No no!)
From Wikipedia.org http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagniappe:
"A lagniappe ( /ˈlænjæp/ lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, ‘something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.’
The word entered English from Louisiana French, in turn derived from the American Spanish phrase la ñapa (‘something that is added’ ). Although this is an old custom, it is still widely practiced today in Louisiana. Street vendors, especially vegetable vendors, are expected to throw in a few green chillies or a small bunch of cilantro with a purchase.”