WALLINGFORD — In honor of her mother’s love for popcorn, Robbin Jackson opened up a kettle corn shop called Nutmeg Kettlecorn.
“We lost her eight years ago and she loved popcorn, absolutely adored popcorn,” Jackson said.
Jackson started her company in 2014, the year her mother, Ruth Ford, died.
“We started doing vending, it was a hobby and then we started getting more orders,” Jackson said. “... It’s been a long hard road in developing the store. The storefront is my favorite thing.”
Kettle corn is popcorn often made in a large kettle, usually mixed with oil, sugar and salt.
Jackson has a cousin who used to work in New Haven, where he hand stirred kettle corn. He ended up moving away, so when Jackson was starting her business, her husband, Herb Jackson, learned how to make the kettle corn and has been making it at a separate location in Wallingford.
“He learned pretty quick, he really did,” Robbin Jackson said. “He watched how my cousin was making it. Then he started practicing and it started tasting pretty good. Now, he’s got it down pat where it is consistent every batch. We are definitely a small batch small business, so we make small batches and we want that flavor to taste homemade.”
Nutmeg Kettlecorn opened at 2 Chapel St., Suite 6, in March, but held its grand opening June 4, which was Ford’s birthday.
“The concept is all my idea,” Robbin Jackson said. “What we want to do is be a local little sweet shop, a cute little place where you can pick up just that little impromptu gift if you’re going to a friend’s house or a baby shower.”
Robbin Jackson sells 10 different flavors of kettle corn, including caramel, blue raspberry, grape, pink cherry, green apple, salty sweet, chocolate, strawberry, caramel apple and fireball. With the increase in the price of food and oil, she is concerned about raising prices.
“We are taking a beating in the loss of profit, we’re really not profiting at this point,” Robbin Jackson said. “I am leery to go higher up on my prices because if I do, I am outpricing myself before I even get this business off the ground … But I’m not going to stop. I’ve come too far and I feel like I am being blessed from above to even get this far.”
Robbin Jackson has partnered with other woman-owned businesses, such as Amy Cakes in Wallingford and Sweet Claude’s Ice Cream in Cheshire. She sells some of their products and they sell some of hers.
Kelly Anne Pearce, owner of Sweet Claude’s, said that she has made six flavors of ice cream specifically for Nutmeg Kettlecorn.
Robbin Jackson “has a beautiful vision of what she wants her shop to be so when we were creating the flavors, she kind of steered me in the right direction and we came up with a couple things that complements a lot of the products that she has in her shop,” Pearce said.
Robbin Jackson gets a lot of wedding business and is on WeddingWire and The Knot.
“We do a lot of weddings, we do a lot of commercial business, any of life’s occasions,” she said.
Nutmeg Kettlecorn is the first step toward what Robbin Jackson wants to do in the future, which is to one day expand into more storefronts and a smaller business called NKWed to focus on weddings and special events.
“We’re certainly hoping to expand,” she Jackson said.