Minetta and Neal Crosier were just such entrepreneurs. Building upon successful business careers and a passion for popcorn, they had a vision for a gourmet popcorn company like no other, one with extraordinary flavors found nowhere else, made with the highest quality ingredients, and handcrafted and made fresh daily. Their question was: where to start?
The Crosiers turned to the Florida SBDC at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) in Lake County, near where they lived. Minetta Crosier is a UCF graduate and had heard about the FSBDC’s no-cost consulting, business seminars & workshops and market research resources, all focused on the needs of small-to-medium sized businesses. It was just these services that the Crosiers decided to access at the FSBDC.
It happens often. An entrepreneur has an idea but is uncertain about how to turn their vision into a real business. And then how to make that business a success.
“When we first started out, we had no idea how to do what we wanted to do or exactly where we wanted to do it. What we did know was what we wanted to do,” says Neal Crosier. “So we went to the FSBDC for help with taking our concept to an actual business.”
With their Lake County consultant Eddie Hill, the Crosiers rolled up their sleeves and started to work. They attended business education seminars about starting a business and using social media to market that business. The relied on Hill’s expertise and experience for business guidance and consultation. And, using the FSBDC’s databases, they accessed extensive market research and industry information.
Further, as the Crosiers progressed toward launching their business, the FSBDC helped them find professional assistance with retail interior design, branding, legal issues, bookkeeping and store build-out construction.
With the FSBDC at their side, the Crosiers were able to make major course corrections in their business plans. They abandoned their original idea of operating from a mall kiosk in favor of a retail store. They adjusted their choice of location from I-Drive in Orlando to the Church Street Station downtown area. And the results have been excellent.
Popcorn JunkieTM, the Crosier’s wonderful new store, opened on Church Street in May 2107 and has been enjoying terrific success. They have been helping customers from all over ‘Get Hooked on Good” with an amazing selection of gourmet popcorn flavors, featuring Classic, Cheese, Sweet, Nutty, Chocolate and Seasonal Varieties. They are close by the downtown sports venues and see extensive foot traffic on game days. And they are building a loyal downtown Orlando following in nearby office buildings and apartments.
“The FSBDC was there when we needed them,” Neal Crosier concluded. “I take my hat off to them. Every time I reached out to them, I received an immediate response or, if they didn’t have the answer, they found it for me fast. They gave us excellent, really excellent service. I didn’t imagine it would be that good. But it was, and helped us a lot.”