Chad Huskey, 40, snack leader
Sometimes the path to business ownership is a windy one. In Chad Huskey’s case, his road the food entrepreneurship started with ambitions to be a professional musician, took a sharp turn away from the family furniture distribution business, and nearly ended in a career in information technology.
But Chad went soul-searching when he realized he was tired of solving other people’s problems all the time. That’s when he landed on food.
Or specifically, popcorn.
“For some reason, I thought it would be cool to make gourmet popcorn,” he says.
Undeterred by his lack of experience in the food industry, Chad started making batches in a kitchenette in building that housed his father’s furniture showroom. Chad’s Carolina Corn was born.
“It was a huge learning curve. I had never done anything in the culinary world,” Chad says. “My favorite part was coming up with the recipes.”
He took his creations — which ranged from savory (Jalapeno Cheddar and Dill Pickle) to sweet (Dark Chocolate) – to the Piedmont Triad Farmer’s Market. The business grew faster than Chad had hoped, and spent the nine weeks before Christmas 2012 working 15-hours a day, seven days a week filling orders.
In a stroke of luck, Chad met the owner of Carolina Fine Snacks, a Greensboro-based snack food manufacturer, who was able to provide some much-needed advice on turning the business into a full, professional operation.
“He said, ‘If you knew everything you need to do to get where you want to go, you would probably quit right now,’” Chad says.
Chad was undeterred. And today, he’s got a small team and a professional kitchen. You can buy his popcorn at stores across the south and western US. Locally, you can get it at Bestway, Whole Foods, Lowes Foods and at gift shops at PTI Airport.