Corn-tastic creation pops out of Archdale

by Charles Womack

In early 2010, Chad Huskey was ready for a change.

The now 35-year-old Thomasville native was growing tired of the computer repair business and was looking for something more fulfilling and something he would love.

“I wanted a product that would make people happy,” Huskey said. “Something that would put a smile on people’s faces. I loved popcorn growing up, but never made any flavors. My mom would always make it the real way… on the stove.”

So for the first few months of 2010, he started thinking seriously about popping corn. His family always loved his popcorn, as he would go all out using olive oil, sea salt and cooking it on the stove, constantly trying to do it better and better.

In September 2010 he made the switch and started his company, Chad’s Carolina Corn, in a section of his father’s furniture store in Archdale.

“We started out with three flavors: kettle corn, white cheddar and original,” Huskey said. We are now popping up a dozen flavors and fluctuating a few special flavors every now and then.”

Flavors currently available include; Buffalo bleu, café mocha, caramel corn, Chicago mix, cinnamon kettle, dark chocolate, dill pickle, jalapeño cheddar, kettle edition, original, pumpkin pie, salt & vinegar, sour cream & onion and white cheddar.

Huskey admitted they had tried to do a barbecue flavor, but it was a dismal failure.

“It was horrible…. kind of a sweet barbecue,” he said. “We are still trying, but are having a hard time getting it right and one that nails it 100 percent.”

It is that drive for perfection that has cause the rapid growth of Chad’s Carolina Corn over the past two years. The company initially started with a 5-gallon popper and has moved up to a 20-gallon model just recently.

“Demand has really shot up and having the ability to make more at one time is a huge help,” Huskey said. “We are selling our popcorn at 14 or so places including the farmers market and at our online store”

At the online store, customers can create their own flavors and mix and match whatever they like for a custom order treat. Chad also said he loves hearing from people who have tried his popcorn with their comments and suggestions on new flavors and ways to improve.

“My plans are to build the business on the wholesale side, where I make it and distribute to locations and they sell to the general public,” he said. “Down the line I could see a retail store, but right now I want to cast a bigger net with getting the popcorn out as far as possible. I am talking to several major grocery chains who have expressed interest.”

When asked about his favorite, Huskey said the original — made with canola oil, sea salt and a bit of vinigar is still his favorite. His least favorite would be dill pickle. “I’m not a pickle fan, but it is one of our best sellers.”