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A campaign to bring high quality kettle corn to the St Louis area throughout the year.

A campaign to bring high quality kettle corn to the St Louis area throughout the year.

A campaign to bring high quality kettle corn to the St Louis area throughout the year. Read More
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This project's funding goal was not reached on June 10, 2013.

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Daniel Mckeown
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Daniel Mckeown

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About this project

Gateway Kettle Corn will be a semi mobile food concession business selling high quality gourmet kettle corn. The popcorn will be popped on site using a high quality machine, flavors, and product bags. Gateway Kettle Corn will set up a 10’X10’ fully lettered canopy type tent with a full back wall and two half screen side walls, high quality kettle popper, a cooling and bagging table, a front table for sales, and a back table used for popping ingredients and hand washing sink. 

Which stand would you rather walk up to? Which would you rather snack from? A stand that looks like it was pieced together or a stand that is professionally constructed and professionally maintained?

Or a professional stand?

Gateway Kettle Corn will set up in local city fairs, festivals, and events throughout the year. There are approximately two to three of these types of events per month during OFF, or winter months and four to five events per month during ON, or the spring, summer and fall months. These events will be the core of the business.
    While the events and festivals would be a large part of the revenue stream, these are during the weekends. During the week days, Gateway Kettle Corn will set up its tent in local farmers markets and craft fairs.

    Gateway Kettle Corn Will be set up as an LLC (Limited Liability Company) for tax, and security reasons. The owner operator would be responsible for the day to day running of the business.

    Kettle corn is an on site impulse purchase. Because of this, a  highly visible tent is needed.
    To further the company goals, aggressive marketing strategies will be employed. Marketing will include, but not limited to, marketing to office buildings for sales to management for use in gift baskets and employee reward programs. “$1.00 OFF” “TWO FOR ONE” coupons will also be employed to further company visibility.
    In addition to  setting up at local fairs and festivals, a charitable event set up will be used to promote the company as well as the charity. Local as well as national affiliated organizations can have a tent set up at their event with one dollar per bag being donated to the charitable organization.
    Local fund raising events will also be used to promote the business. Dance groups and high school clubs use car washes to raise money for their club. Having a tent set up at these events will help promote their event and raise one dollar per bag sold will go to the club. The Boy Scouts and cub scouts have a number of fund raisers throughout the year as well. Having Fund raising order forms being given out to the groups would raise sales as well.
    While these charitable and fund raising events will take away a portion of the profits for Gateway Kettle Corn, the exposure can never hurt and will promote the business to other businesses for their events and for larger bulk sales.
    Marketing to Real estate agents for gifts to prospective buyers and new home owners through the year but during the months of May through August have the most moves. Apartment managers may use bags of kettle corn for new move ins as well.
    October through the end of the year, holiday tins of fresh kettle corn would be marketed as holiday gifts. These would be heavily marketed to manufactures representatives and for corporate gifts. 
    Social Media will be used to advertise locations and times of operations. Facebook, Twitter, and direct email marketing will use pictures and video to energize people and promote online and corporate orders.
    Advertising will also reflect that this company is veteran and family owned and operated.

    After long hours spent researching the types of Kettle Corn Machines and the manufacture of these machines, the proven track record of innovation and materials used led me to choose The Kettle Corn Machine company based in Washington State as the best system to work with. The materials used as well as their customer support system was, by far, the most professional and helpful. Their complete kitchen includes everything needed but the corn, oil, sugar, and the flavorings for the same cost, or lower, as other manufactures systems with less equipment warranties, and lesser manufactured quality equipment.

    While there are a small number of Kettle Corn businesses within the St Louis area, few are in the business full time. A full time business, with a consistently working marketing plan, will last long and flourish. I have visually researched five of the St Louis area Kettle Corn popping operations and found the businesses not having additional flavors, no health department inspections on two, and a very unprofessional set up. Only two operations had any type of advertising and that was their tent alone. 

    While the weather conditions can present a problem. The addition of a small tent to the side of the main tent would give people a dry place for customers and non-customers to order and eat. The addition of the secondary tent would not negatively impact the advertising of the main tent. The addition of a small banner attached to the secondary tent would aid in advertising.


    Due to St Louis County Health regulations, Gateway Kettle Corn will require the use of a large 3 compartment sink for washing, sanitizing, and rinsing the utensils used during the production of the product.  Gateway Kettle Corn will “partner”, with a local store that has these facility for use of the cleaning station. The cost of this would be a few free bags of popped corn per month.

Standard Charges are listed below. Specialty flavors are between $1.00 and $3.00 per bag extra. The production cost per bag of Kettle Corn is between $0.50 and $1.00.
Medium bag        $5.00
Large Bag            $8.00
Large bag X 2        $15.00
Non-event projections (farmers markets / high traffic area, Tuesday thru Friday per day)

Medium bag          $5.00 X 30 = $150.00
Large Bag             $8.00 X 20 =  $160.00
Large bag X 2       $15.00 X 10  = $150.00

            Total per day            $460.00
            Times 4 days          $1,840.00

Event Weekend projections per day (Saturday and Sunday)
Medium bag         $5.00 X  60 = $300.00
Large bag            $8.00 X  50 = $400.00
Large bag X 2      $15.00 X 20 = $300.00

                   Total per day =    $1,000.00
                   2 day event    =   $2,000.00


“Corporate” box minimum order 6 bags Regular corn, Specialty corn $1.00 extra per bag plus shipping St Louis County shipping $5.00. St Charles County $7.00. St Louis City shipping $8.00 All other shipping areas will be shipped ups ground.

Regular kettle corn
Medium bag       $4.00 X 6 =    $24.00
Large bag          $6.00 X 6 =    $36.00

Carmel and specialty flavors

Medium bag       $5.00 X 6 =    $30.00
Large bag          $7.00 X 6 =    $42.00

    As this business is mostly a cash business, accurate records will be kept during each event. Internet, and corporate orders will most likely paid with a credit card. The use of the “Square” would handle the credit card orders. The Square would use a smart phone to process the credit card information with a small fee per transaction of less than 3 percent of the transaction. Fund raising orders have been, traditionally been paid by check. At events there will be a minimum of a $20.00 order for credit cards


Standard Kettle Corn
Sugar free
Blue raspberry
Hot and spicy*
Baby shower (pink and blue)
White cheddar*
Carmel apple**
Others as needed
*    Add $1.00 per bag
**  Add $2.00 per bag
***Add $3.00 per bag


A logical choice for expansion that would compliment the kettle corn would be drinks. A Lemon Shaker cart will be purchased to augment the Kettle Corn stand. Lemon Shakers are a fresh squeezed lemon aid type drink. There are four ingredients, sugar, one sliced lemon, ice and water. 4oz. Of sugar is put into a heavy duty 34oz cup, a lemon is sliced by a slicer dropping into the cup, a pneumatic ram is used to squeeze the juice out of the lemon, ice is then put into the glass, water is added, a cap is put over the cup and the cup is shaken to mix the ingredients. The mixture is poured into a 32oz cup and served to the customer. The process takes about 30 seconds to complete and the results sell for $4.00 per unit and the cost for the lemon shaker is between $0.50 to $0.75 depending on what additives are requested by the customer. Additives include, but are not limited to, Strawberry, peach, or energy shots. The cost of the Lemon shaker cart, with all needed supplies would be aprox. $3,000.00.

    The Lemon Shaker cart is designed to fit in the Kettle Corn kitchen, but during a large events, the supplies for both the Kettle Corn and the lemon shakers would make the tent crowded. It will be necessary to  have the Lemon Shaker side move into its own tent. A lettered tent, back table, and front table will be purchased. The cost for the additional equipment to have two tents would be aprox. $2,500.00.

    The lemon shaker market, during the hotter months, would exceed the Kettle Corn sales with 2 to 3 hundred units being sold at larger events. The retail cost for the lemon shaker is $5.00 per cup. The production cost of the lemon shaker is aprox. $1.00 per cup.   
    Another expansion possibility would be a Funnel Cake stand. The investment of the portable gas fryer, supplies, front table, back table and the tent would be less than five thousand dollars. The Reduced cost would be due to the frame work of  insurance, licenses, and health department permits put forward by Gateway Kettle Corn. 


Kettle Corn equipment
Kettle corn Kitchen from The Kettle Corn Machine Company.
1- Master Series 160qt Kettle Corn Machine
paddle, oil pot & 24oz ladle
Paddle monkey (a self stirring addition used for increased production.)
1- Sifting & Cooling Table
3 catch bins, 2 popcorn scoops, salt shaker
1- Front Table
1- Rear Rack with Sink
3 18qt popcorn, sugar & caramel bins, 2 cup & 4 cup scoop
1- Custom Tent with 4 Custom Sides
Red with Yellow logos

Product bags:
Poly Bag
4301 S Tacoma Way
Tacoma, WA 98409
(253) 473-4660
Two sizes with logo, nutritional information, and bar code
Med    8.5 X 18    $59,80 per case of 1,000
Large  8.5 X 24    $70.35 per case of 1,000

LP gas (propane)
1 - 100# LP propane tank for the kettle

1 - 11# LP propane tank for instant hot water for the hand washing station

1 - 20# LP propane tank as a back up tank

Uniform (purchased locally)
5 black bib aprons

5 carpenters style jeans

5 short sleeve screen printed gray colored t-shirts


Food supplies
Bulk corn (BHK brand Mushroom style) ConAgra foods
Flavorings (camel, cheese, others,) Gold Medal products purchased locally
100% corn oil (bulk purchased locally)
Cane Sugar (bulk purchased locally)

Late model pick up truck for  extra storage
With tow package

A 6 X 10 trailer with a ramp rear door Used for transportation of equipment. Security and storage.

Additional equipment needed for production
Extra ladles, storage containers, scoops, wire shelving misc.

Additional support equipment for production
Mountable fans     
Mountable lights   
Misc. equipment   

Cleanup supplies
Cleaning chemicals
Scrubbing pads / gloves
Garbage can and bags

Auto and business liability ($1,000,000.00 policy)

Licenses and permits
Health Department

Office expenses
Signage for trailer
Signage - street directional

Total start up costs            $40,000.00

This video is not mine but does give an accurate description of hand popping a small batch of kettle corn.

If you have any questions what so ever, please contact me at I will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Facebook page is

The below are just a few of the many web sites I used for research for this business. Please look them over and get a feel for what I want to do.


Risks and challenges

The major challenge to this type of operation is the weather. This product is an impulse purchase at differing locations. I plan to offset this obstacle with fund raisers high school sports games, internet sales, retail sales and corporate orders that are not focused on the weather. This will allow me to work through the colder winter "off season" months of November, December, and January.

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Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15 USD

    I certificate for a free small bag of kettle corn at any of the number of locations where I will be popping. locations announced via Facebook or twitter

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    I certificate for a free large bag of kettle corn at any of the number of locations where I will be popping. Locations announced via Facebook or twitter.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    Two small fresh popped bags of kettle corn shipped to your door.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    Four large bags of fresh popped kettle corn delivered to your door. Anywhere UPS or USPS ships.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    Eight large bags of fresh popped kettle corn delivered to your door. Anywhere UPS or USPS Ships.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    What a great idea. I will come to your location and set up the tent and pop kettle corn for two+ hours. This would be great for a corporate picnic or other private event. This is limited to St Louis city, county, St Charles County, Franklin County, and Jefferson County in Missouri only. I will also take care of all permits and inspections.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    I will come to your private event, set up the tent and pop kettle corn for you anywhere in the state of Missouri. If you choose to avail yourself of all four of this categories rewards, I will travel anywhere within the continental United States for your private event. I will also take care of all permits and inspections.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (30 days)