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Washington Gourmet Popcorn Maker Goes to the Emmys

Local gourmet popcorn will be among the goodies News & Documentary Emmy Awards VIPs will take home.

Bainbridge Island, WA, September 21, 2011 --( Some participants in the 32nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards will walk away with prestigious trophies - but all the VIPs will get to take home a taste of Washington State. Bainbridge Island-based Popcorn Chef was among 30 businesses selected to provide products for the official gift bags to the 800 VIPs at this year's event.

Hosted at the Time Warner Center in New York City, the News & Documentary Emmy Awards will include celebrities, television personalities and media stars among its guests. Larry King will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, and all those in attendance - including some of television and Internet media's most influential people - will receive official Emmy gift bags with items ranging from jewelry and candles to stationery and pet products.

For Popcorn Chef owner Doña Keating, large orders to be shipped all over the world are not an unusual request. But when she was approached by Off the Wall Ideas, the provider of the bags for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, she recognized the opportunity to increase this niche.

"We receive quite a few emails from different entities and some of them are just starting out, so we investigated to ensure it was a legitimate invitation," she said. "I thought it would be fun to do - we've had a few things sent out to celebrities in the past and received highly positive feedback."

She liked the fact that Off the Wall Ideas, which is headquartered in New Hampshire, was especially looking to promote small businesses. The mission of the nonprofit National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, to advance the arts and sciences of telecommunication and foster leadership in the industry, was also an attractive cause.

Thus far, Popcorn Chef is the only one from Washington state to be selected among the product placement participants, who do not receive payment for their products. Val Wilson, producer of the Official Emmy Gift Bags, said a team of researchers looks up potential businesses in specific categories, which include gourmet foods.

"Popcorn Chef had a nice website," said Wilson, who owns Off the Wall with her husband, Mike. "The flavors looked delightful."

Popcorn Chef has nearly two dozen sweet and savory flavors including such enticing choices as Butterscotch Heaven, Spicy Southwestern Cheddar, and Dark Chocolate with Chipotle, Cayenne & White Truffle Oil. It didn't take long for Keating to decide what treats to provide for the VIPs. She's creating a new mix, appropriately called "Emmy Medley," with four popular flavors that complement each other: White Cheddar with Cracked Black Pepper and Bleu Cheese, Dark Chocolate with Alder-Smoked Sea Salt, Baked Caramel, and Golden Cheddar.

"The biggest challenge is the labor involved," said Keating, who frequently recruits her husband, Charles, and other friends or family members to help out. "We decided to do something different and use packages larger than our sample size but smaller than our small bags. It's more labor intensive to put our products in small packages, label them and so on."

The other challenge is the fast turnaround. Though Popcorn Chef was invited two weeks ago, it made its decision three days ago. Keating and crew only have days to prepare the goodies, which must arrive in New York by Sept. 22. That means her company will have to go into high gear for this production, while working to fill other orders and tending to the other businesses the couple own (including corporate consulting).

For Keating, however, the endeavor is well worth it. It was only six years ago when she launched Popcorn Chef. Since then, the business has blossomed to include corporate clients and fans all over the world.

"What I appreciate about this opportunity is that we've gotten to the point where we're being sought out. It's a nice turning point," she said. "So many business fail within five years, particularly in this economy. To be going strong in our sixth year and be invited to the Emmys is quite rewarding, as is the opportunity to again show the world the wonderful things going on here." ships made-to-order popcorn internationally. It offers corporate gifts, fundraisers, private parties, and its products include quality organic ingredients.

Contact Information
Popcorn Chef
Rodika Tollefson
(206) 552-8517

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