Crandal Barrow of Auburn has discovered that a little bit of ingenuity, mixed with a lot of hard work can take you places in life, even if you’ve only lived a little over a decade so far.
Crandal is a seventh grader at Auburn School, and like most middle school boys he enjoys spending time with his friends, riding four wheelers, hunting and hanging out. What is different about this middle schooler, however, is he owns his own business already at just 12-years-old.
“Crandal’s Popcorn” began simply with an idea, a little help from, and a plot of land on his grandfather’s farm.
“It was really kind of an accident,” said Crandal on how he began his adventure. His grandfather, Currie Barrow (Grandy to his grandchildren), grows crops on his farm in Auburn. One day Crandal decided it would be neat to grow something entirely different.
“I tried potatoes, but that didn’t turn out so well, so I decided why not popcorn,” Crandal said. Last year was his first crop of corn. Four rows on a piece of land his Grandy picked out. Crandal said he planted it, and with the help of his dad Mark Barrow, it wasn’t long before he realized this was going to take.
“We had to water it a lot last year,” said the young Barrow. “Then it was time to harvest the corn.”
The first year was a lot harder than this season, admits Crandal. He didn’t have the equipment he has now to help shuck the corn and separate it. He and his cousins, bother and sister Macon and Chaney Barrow, all helped get the corn ready.
“The first year we had to get the corn off the cobs with our thumbs,” said Macon Barrow, son of Jon and Darla Barrow. “Boy were our thumbs sore.”
After the first harvest, Crandal discovered others liked his popcorn as much as he did. First it was family of course, then it was neighbors and church members. Before long Crandal thought maybe he might have something here.
This season, Crandal increased his crop and grew 12 rows of popcorn. He also invested in equipment that would help him harvest more efficiently and accurately. He learned from the first year what was important in growing popcorn.
“You really have to make sure the corn’s moisture is at an appropriate level,” learned Crandal. “The drying process is very important or it will not pop correctly, and then your customers will not want it.”
This is really a family business, said the boy. Both his grandmothers, Sandra Barrow and Debbie Britt help out, as does Crandal’s mom, Holly.
“My Gran (Barrow) sews all the bags by hand the popcorn goes in, and my other grandmother (Britt) takes me to the festivals to sell it. My mom, she painted my sign and made me shirts with my business name on them,” said Crandal adding, “My dad and my Grandy, they help me grow it and my cousins help me get it ready.”
The young entrepreneur has since created a Facebook Page entitled simply “Crandal’s Popcorn.” Even for a youngster who has grown up in the world of social media is surprised at how far his reach has become.
“My popcorn is in California, Boston, Florida and even in another country. I sold some to a lady who lives in Spain,” said Crandal. “It’s pretty amazing that there are people out there that want to buy my popcorn, when there are so many other products out there.”
Crandal’s headquarter, as he calls it, is based off his house in Auburn. He uses his mother’s old shop beside the house as his base of operation.
“I am very proud of him,” said his dad Mark. “This venture has taught him so much already. He has learned responsibility and has been able to meet a lot of new people. I am happy for him.”
For Crandal, well he has his eyes on the future. Asked what he plans on doing when he grows up he says, “It all depends on where the popcorn thing goes.”
If you are interested in trying Crandal’s popcorn, you can go to his Facebook Page and hit like, then message him to purchase.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.