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Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company

At Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company, business is popping!

Karen Bradley and her husband, Tim, manage the majority woman-owned enterprise (Karen’s share is 51 percent). Looking for an opportunity to combine Tim’s expertise in consumer packaged goods, finance and operations with Karen’s background in graphic design, marketing and sales, the couple acquired Rocky Mountain Popcorn in January 2007.

“We work really well together and we wanted to use both sides of our collective brain,” Karen said. “With our experience in brand management, we recognized that, while Rocky Mountain Popcorn was proven in the market, we could brand it as ours.”

The entrepreneurial duo researched trends and found that Americans craved healthy snack options. Indeed, there’s no corn syrup or anything partially hydrogenated in the company’s whole grain popcorn that comes in a variety of sizes and natural flavors that include white cheddar, caramel, jalapeño, red chili, butter and ‘naked.’

The Centennial-based company employs 16 employees, including 11 at its Boulder plant, and distributes nationally to grocery stores and convenience stores like King Soopers, City Market, Loaf ‘N Jug, Circle K and Conoco.

“To be successful, you have to think strategically and be persistent,” said Karen. “In part, that means knowing where to turn for guidance, to fill the gaps that fall outside your area of expertise.”

“Caroline Hanna of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center counseled me and provided me all the tools I needed to develop a business plan – something I’d never done before. About once a month for a year, she helped me get it right the first time,” said Karen.

The Bradleys’ unwavering focus and strategic thinking is paying off. Last year, Rocky Mountain Popcorn hit $2.1 million in sales; 2010 estimated sales are $3 million.