The Indulge Gourmet Kettle Corn Story
Many families schedule a game night or family fun night to bring each member of the household together for a little face time.
Allan Eisen, founder of Indulge Gourmet Kettle Corn, simply quit his day job and began his own business. Starting from scratch, the unique opportunity of entering the business of niche foods would involve the help of the entire family, and during the first few months of getting things off the ground, allow him to spend more time with his son.
“I was 16. After finishing homework I would go down into the basement and help dad with labelling and packing boxes,” said Matt Eisen. “I did that for a few months. It was kind of strange because during those moments he was my dad, boss, supervisor and co-worker. If I did things too slowly I was grounded.”
The sweet, light treat and the company behind it is an Eisen family recipe. Not only did the clan decide on the proper amounts of ingredients through countless rounds of taste tests, Allan’s wife Brandi has also handled the business books since day one as the company accountant.
BUT WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?
Nobody in the family had even tried kettle corn before finding themselves at a festival in Bala, in 200X. There was a vendor there with a kettle corn machine and Brandi grabbed a bag. Before you knew it the bag was empty and they were filling up another round.
The family returned home with the sweet taste of the freshly popped treat in their mouths and the business wheels began turning towards a possible future endeavour. Years in the liquidation field gifted Allan with a keen sense for business and with the first weeks of the recession already drying up many of his liquidation prospects, it was his business sense that told him a career move was wise if not inevitable.
Always interested in manufacturing, Allan thought, “Why not kettle corn? Even during a recession people are going to snack and I felt this was a product not really being offered in the local market.” So with that, the Eisens purchased a kettle corn machine and the numerous test runs began to create the perfect blend of popcorn, corn oil, sugar and sea salts. The Eisen kitchen became a kettle corn cookery day and night, and when the kettle wasn’t popping, the Eisen men were packing and shipping.
The procedure quickly became an all-night event, attempting to keep up with what quickly became a high demand for this irresistibly sweet and salty new snack item.
In 2009, the family business moved out of the Eisen kitchen. In 2011 Allan introduced the smaller, 30g single-serving bag to overwhelming success. Now, with larger manufacturing and distribution capabilities, school snack programs on board, and hundreds of bags of the kettle corn shipped each week, Allan is getting ready to introduce exciting new programs and products into his growing Indulge Gourmet family.
Stay tuned for new corporate and referral programs, a birthday club, monthly spotlights and some very exciting new flavours.
Born and raised in Toronto, I had what was considered the usual schedule to follow growing up. I went to school, came home, watched some TV, and then did homework. I had dinner, more homework and more TV.
After graduating from high school I was off to college for two years of Marketing and Business. My father was a buyer for a national retailer. When I was very young I used to go with him on Saturdays to different suppliers. I sat and listened as to what years later would be the typical buyer on one side, the seller on the other side, and the negotiation in the middle. It was fascinating, the true definition of sales equaling business. I guess that’s when I first got the “business bug”.
College was great. It taught me many valuable tools which I use to this day. But to me it was all theory. I wanted to talk to business owners who would deal in the reality. I asked a lot of questions to business owners who had the foresight and experience in business that I could only dream of achieving. One comment that was common among all these business owners was that no matter how the world would evolve with technology, there was not any computer or machine that would replace negotiation and sales. It is what made business then, now, and the future. They said believe in your product. Know your product.
With college over it was time to find a job. Somewhere I could sell and utilize my skills. I had the personality for it. And I was good at it. I had sales jobs from the clothing to housewares.
One day in 2009 I decided it was time to start my OWN business. It was time to utilize all my knowledge from school and my various sales jobs. The food business always interested me. After all, everyone needs to eat! One day my wife brought home a bag of popcorn called Kettle Corn. It was sweet and salty. It tasted great. I went searching the aisles of grocery stores for this wonderful Kettle Corn. To my surprise, I could not find it. I did market research. I spoke to food consultants, ingredient suppliers, packaging companies, graphic designers, and made endless contacts who gave me their time to teach and help me.
I found my product, had the confidence there would be a market and demand, and believed I could sell it. I secured a small manufacturing facility, and a large machine to pop the corn. With the encouragement and confidence of my wife Brenda and my son Matthew, they watched as I made the first batch. Indulge Gourmet Kettle Corn was born.