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Mix-match popcorn gourmand

February 12, 2008 4:07:15 PM PST
LaVonne Sanders has made popcorn his passion. He's the founder of mix-match gourmet popcorn, a south suburban company popping with success. The world has had an affair with pop corn for more than 500 years. Yet given all that history Sanders has found a way to make it different. From his factory in south suburban Dolton, he ships out 15,000 cases of mix-match gourmet popcorn every 10 days.

"I don't know if you can make a product any better than how we make it. Our product is handmade even thought we do a big volume. It's handmade. We use the top grade ingredients. We don't use imitation butter flavoring. We use the real butter," said Sanders.

Born in Mississippi, he came to Chicago in 1960 and worked his way up from a dishwasher for a food company to become the firm's vice president. He decided to open his own business after seeing long lines of people at a downtown popcorn shop.

"The aroma smelled good. It triggered a thought in my mind. If you have this many people in line to buy popcorn. There's got to be something to it," said Sanders.

A former hair stylist, daughter Latonya manages the pop corn factory where 19 are employed

"I enjoy working beside my father...and I learn so much from him. You know, it makes me just want to carry on the family business?and just live the legacy of the Sanders business," said Sanders.

The product mix match gourmet pop corn can be found at Jewel Osco, Walgreens Nationwide Macy's, and a number of other chains, along with convenience stores.

"I want to feel better about simply because I see an opportunity to not only that we have developed a product but that we have developed employment for people," said Sanders. "And my goal is not just to continue to develop this popcorn but to develop people as well."

Sanders, maker of Mix Match Gourmet Popcorn and someone you should know.


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