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Gold Medal Holds One Sweet Distributors’ Conference - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

When Gold Medal Products Co. holds its annual Distributors' Conference, it's not your typical business meeting. From December 2-4, the fun foods manufacturer packed the halls of the Sharonville Convention Center with popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cakes, Sno-Kones® and more! The atmosphere rivaled that of a carnival, but don't be mistaken—Gold Medal is one serious industry leader.

Gold Medal Holds One Sweet Distributors’ Conference

Gold Medal is known as the leading manufacturer and supplier for concession equipment and supplies. Its success is largely attributed to a loyal worldwide distributor network.

"The relationship with our dealers is the core of our business. We've hosted our annual distributors' conference for 56 years. This is our way of not only saying thank you, but also equipping attendees to grow their businesses in the year ahead," said Gold Medal President and CEO, Dan Kroeger. "It's the only event like it in the industry. And it's one heck of a party," he quips.

Every year, this exclusive three-day event is held in Cincinnati. The 2014 conference, entitled "Swinging for Success," saw over 350 in attendance, representing more than 25 countries. The setting is a full sensory experience: lighted machines line the main hall; ears are met by the sounds of popcorn popping and savory aromas fill the air. Of course, there's plenty of taste-testing various treats throughout the day.

The main attraction is to introduce what's new for the upcoming year. Among the many new items and improvements for 2015, Gold Medal is launching SunPop™ Select, popcorn that's specifically designed for the more health-conscious consumer. It is whole grain, gluten-free and non-GMO. In addition, the company will also release SunnyPop™. It was specially developed to give schools a popcorn that complies with the USDA Smart Snacks in Schools nutritional standards.

Attendees have their choice of business-building roundtables addressing a variety of topics from sales, marketing, engineering and business management. In addition, product demonstrations give the hands-on opportunity to experience the equipment in action. Gold Medal also treated its guests to enjoy night life by hosting a dinner at Cincinnati’s world-famous Montgomery Inn Boathouse and an evening of fun and games at Dave & Buster’s. The event concluded with the company’s annual awards banquet, with over 200 awards recognizing noteworthy sales accomplishments.

"Gold Medal is committed to making this an impressive experience that keeps our guests returning year after year," stated Kroeger. "We deliver the education, entertainment and engagement that will leave you motivated to drive sales."

Cincinnati Businesses Work Together to Keep Manufacturing Jobs in U.S. Cincinnati Businesses Work Together to Keep Manufacturing Jobs in U.S. - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

Local companies, Gold Medal Products Co. and Cincinnati Incorporated have nearly 200 years of combined service within the greater Cincinnati community. Now the two recently came together in an effort that's helping to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Gold Medal manufactures equipment used in the fun food industry, such as popcorn, cotton candy, Sno-Kones® and others. With an increased demand, the company had the goal of optimizing efficiencies while improving quality. They needed a system that would streamline their ability to produce custom steel machinery. Gold Medal approached Cincinnati Incorporated about their CL-940 Laser Cutting System, known for its speed, accuracy and reliability. The technology is cutting-edge, quite literally. Using a fiber laser system, the machine is operated via a Human Machine Interface, allowing for intricate precision in even the most complex of cuts. In addition, a web cam gives easy monitoring of the cutting process.

The Cincinnati CL-940 has given Gold Medal the opportunity to better serve its customers' needs. For example, equipment can now be customized with customer logos. This would have been a cost-prohibitive and lengthy process in the past. Now it can be accomplished by simply providing a digital image, which is loaded into the Laser. The added value is substantial.

"It's in our best interests to manage these types of functions here, rather than outsourcing," says Dan Kroeger, Gold Medal President and CEO. This philosophy has served Gold Medal well, as the company has never laid off an employee in its 83 years in business.

Andy Jamison, CEO of Cincinnati Incorporated adds, "It's a privilege to work with Gold Medal. We aren't just investing in common goals, we're also investing in our community."

Kroeger continues, "We're pleased to keep our business local and partner with Cincinnati Incorporated. Not only do they provide the highest quality of equipment, they share in our commitment to keeping manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. I think that's a testimony to the enormous opportunity available here in the greater Cincinnati region."

Sweet Success at National Caramel Corn Day - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

Salty and sweet has always been a winning flavor combination, but it can also be a recipe for business success. Local Orlando company, Gold Medal Products Co. is helping to make that a reality for business owners and managers by hosting National Caramel Corn Day on Monday, September 15.

Sweet Success at National Caramel Corn Day

Salty and sweet has always been a winning flavor combination, but it can also be a recipe for business success. Local Orlando company, Gold Medal Products Co. is helping to make that a reality for business owners and managers by hosting National Caramel Corn Day on Monday, September 15.

Attendees will come from all across the state, and even the country, to participate in this educational program. Over 150 are expected to attend with representatives from 65-70 companies including amusement parks, theatres, retail stores, and concessionaires. Guests will take part in hands-on demonstrations by caramel corn chefs and enjoy taste-testing delicious treats in a wide variety of flavors. They will also learn about the features and benefits of the different equipment options Gold Medal offers. And presenters will share true stories of individuals who are experiencing success in the gourmet popcorn market.

Gold Medal representative Pete Bakala says, “This is an engaging and entertaining event which shows how concession operators can not only stay on top of the latest food trends, but also bring in greater profits. It's a win-win for business owners and consumers. We're proud to be hosting this exclusive event here in Orlando.”

National Caramel Corn Day will be held on Monday, September 15 from 9:00am to 5:00pm at the Double Tree by Hilton in Downtown Orlando. If you would like to cover this special, fun-filled and tasty event, please contact Heather Gims at 800-543-0862 ext. 2384.

Lasting concession connections: Evans family has deep ties to NAC Lasting concession connections: Evans family has deep ties to NAC - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

“As chairman of the NAC board, I have no responsibilities now,” chuckles John Evans Jr., senior VP, Gold Medal Products. Having served “for decades, probably 26 or 27 years at standard board levels” and as immediate-past president before Jeff Scudillo, this respite is well earned.

“As chairman of the NAC board, I have no responsibilities now,” chuckles John Evans Jr., senior VP, Gold Medal Products. Having served “for decades, probably 26 or 27 years at standard board levels” and as immediate-past president before Jeff Scudillo, this respite is well earned.

Evans explains how the National Association of Concessionaires structures its leadership. “I spent many years as a regional vice president, a position that the president appoints without any term limitations. Before becoming an NAC president, you work as president-elect alongside the president for two years. And after you have served another two as president yourself, you become chairman and continue to provide support and advice to the organization. It’s all about training leadership and ease of transition. I’ll miss [the responsibilities], to be honest, but I will always stay involved with NAC.”

“Of course, not everybody has the time commitment available, since these are all volunteer positions,” he attests. “I happen to be blessed to have enough time available because my company supported me in those positions all these years. You got to have that support from your day job to really transition anywhere in an association like NAC. Gold Medal has been a firm supporter of what NAC stands for and that is, in essence, professionalizing the leisure concession and food service industry.”

In doing so, Evans says, NAC counts on education. “We are an education-driven organization. We are really the only place where you can gain perspective and network and learn how to run concession stands, simply said. We are proud of our offerings. A lot of people have put a lot of time and work into the organization to get us to where we are today.” Especially since NAC has to deal with the “disadvantage of not being the primary professional association of our membership,” Evans feels. “For our theater members that is NATO, with whom we work closely and happily, of course. We have also done projects with the International Association of Venue Managers, but again we are not the primary representative. NAC is kind of out there…”

Gold Medal, however, has been right in there as an active member from day one. “My father was involved in NAC since the beginning and even before that, when it was still called the National Association of Popcorn Manufacturers.” And John “J.C.” Evans Sr. remembers it well. “From the early 1940s on, the association has grown beyond popcorn manufacturers,” he tells FJI. “All the board members, who voted to change the name to NAC, thankfully shared the vision of the concession industry that we see today. My father, David C. Evans, was on the board of the National Association of Popcorn Manufacturers as a jobber-distributor long before we even made our first popcorn machine at Gold Medal. NAC blood runs in the veins of the Evans Family. I was actually president when we introduced the change in by-laws that limited terms of the president. And I was the first one to leave on that ground,” he laughs. “My dad was on there for six years, I represented the equipment manufacturer segment for 14 years, and John Jr. has been on the board for who knows how many years.”

“Those were the ‘good old days’ when the pre-poppers primarily helped put together NAPM,” J.C. Evans continues his reminiscence. For those of us who do not know, what are pre-poppers? And what do jobber-distributors do? “These are different segments of the industry. We also had the popcorn processors and brokers, because many processors sold their corn exclusively through brokers. The manufacturers and wholesalers were the pre-poppers, in fact, because the theaters rarely popped on premises during that time.”

Machines were expensive, if you could even get one, J.C. Evans explains. “Pre-popped was much more convenient. All the wholesaler-distributors would deliver 50 folding cartons and a bag of ready-popped popcorn in volume to match. All that theaters needed to do was to get warmers and fill the boxes. This was an excellent cash control too, rather than dealing with a bunch of kernels and popping oil,” he opines. “Even though there are other ways today to duplicate that control, when popcorn was new to the industry, we had to first come up with all those things.”

At what time did exhibitors actually introduce popcorn to the movie going masses? “World War II put popcorn into every theater and onto the candy stands,” which, as J.C. Evans reminds us, they were still called back then. “Exhibitors couldn't get chocolate and candy anymore, because sugar—like oil, metal and pretty much everything else—was either rationed or not available. Fortunately, the people who owned commercial-size popcorn popping machines offered them something else to sell with a nice profit margin. While Gold Medal was a very small popcorn wholesaler in those days, we already shipped to North Carolina, and all over Indiana and Ohio. There were probably no more than a dozen pre-poppers in 1941, and they were mainly seed companies too. But, more frequently, the candy companies got into the popcorn business when they had nothing left to sell. In a heartbeat, they carved up the few commercial poppers that were still available. You have to remember that, by late 1941, manufacturing plants and factories were converted to the war effort. The defense industry had priority to control all metal. Steel, aluminum…you couldn't get anything to manufacture popcorn machines. They were not available at any price.

“Most of the theater owners who had sold popcorn before the candy shortage,” he continues, “were ‘small town’ or in ‘less than elegant’ neighborhoods.” J.C. Evans is convinced that popcorn was already sold in those types of theaters during the 1930s. “When the popcorn side of our business started to grow, we were first selling to theaters that were located in not the most prestigious neighborhoods off the fringes of downtown Cincinnati,” he further recalls. “I remember my dad commenting at breakfast one morning in 1940 or 1941, after making a sales call on the RKO Paramount Theater on McMillan Street. The manager had told him, ‘Popcorn!! I’ll close this damn theater before I ever sell popcorn here.’ All the better theaters felt that way, at least while they could still get candy. I have never forgotten this.”

By that time, Gold Medal also sold to several small-town theaters, one of which comes to J.C. Evans’ mind distinctly because his wife had property in the town. “This brought back memories of stenciling burlap bags with Henn Theater, Murphy, North Carolina,” he chuckles. Amazingly enough, not only is the Henn still around today, it shows first-run product too.

After the war, as materials and equipment were available once again, Gold Medal became a dealer for Star Manufacturing. “There was a nationwide trucker strike,” J.C. Evans recounts. “It was nasty; they weren't even hauling consumer goods. So my dad hired a heavyweight boxer who also drove a truck. We rented a flatbed trailer and went out to St. Louis and filled it with theater-model popcorn machines, unloaded in Cincinnati and, because we had orders for another truckload, went right back.”

Was that fun for the young Evans? “I was a student and I worked for my dad after school. Yes, that was fun to me. If our company had been a corporation, there’s no way I would have been allowed to work. But it was a family business… Although, as a kid I wasn't really talking to customers, I remember unloading my first trailer full of 100-pound bags of corn... And I only weighed 130 pounds then,” he emphasizes with a laugh. “It was a triumph!”

When J.C. Evans was a sophomore or junior at the Cincinnati College of Business, “I took an almost 4,000-mile trip to call on dealers. You went to ‘Film Row’—and every city had one then—to see the guys that were in the business. That’s where I got my start. Gosh, no. I don’t remember my first sale,” he answers our question. “I thought I was doing pretty good, but at only 20 years old trying to sell popcorn machines…any sale seemed great.”

Parallel to the war and post-war-related expansion of the business, the Popcorn Processors Association, which preceded and was independent from NAPM/NAC, was doing great things for the business. In 1949, they began working with SmithBucklin, a PR/marketing agency in Chicago that would later specialize in consulting for different trade associations. “To promote popcorn, they came up with The Popcorn Institute. Bill Smith was probably the best friend the popcorn industry ever had, because he convinced the processors to ‘tax’ themselves at the rate of a few cents per hundredweight of corn produced to fund the Institute in its goal to put popcorn on the map in North America.” It seemed to J.C. Evans as if “every month for decades, every newspaper had a feature story on popcorn. In fact, the public was introduced to popcorn as America’s new ‘super food’ before anyone had even created the word. They talked about the merits of popcorn, its nutritional value, all the things you can do with popcorn… Although the home-popping benefited more from those activities [than theaters and other leisure venues,] popcorn was firmly established and became ubiquitous in a large measure from what SmithBucklin did.”

What the National Association of Concessionaires can do for you today is where John Evans Jr.’s advice comes in. “If you are not yet a member of NAC, check out what we have to offer. It is a great group to network with fellow exhibitors and allied industry suppliers. You are going to find everything, from programs that will help you increase per-caps to training information. NAC is just a very good resource that is available to help professionalize your image to the public.”

So what are the characteristics of a professional concessionaire? “We are best served doing what we know and doing that well,” Evans succinctly responds. “The menu is evolving and growing. Full-service dining comes to mind. It’s a wave and hopefully it’s a long ride. Every year there is something new and there are some fabulous facilities out there. As little as five years ago, some of those offers wouldn't have as much as crossed the owner’s mind,” he feels. “I still say that there will always be a place in the theater trade segment for products like popcorn, hot dogs and Coke, that’s what people associate with the movies. My father always said, ‘Don’t forget to dance with the one that brung ya.’”

NAC Favorite Moments
“One of my favorite moments was winning the prestigious Bert Nathan Award. That was kind of the cheese on the cracker, being recognized by your peers as a leader in the industry. I was really sad when I passed the gavel on to Jeff because I really enjoyed being president of NAC for those two years. It is such a great opportunity to work with all these great people.”
—John Evans Jr.

Squeeze more from your money! - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

This heavy-duty, commercial-grade lemon squeezer was designed to drastically reduce prep time and is the perfect way to keep fresh-squeezed lemonade ready to sell. Thanks to the raised juicing platform, almost all lemonade cups, including souvenir cups, fit directly underneath the juicer. Perfect for lemonade or any citrus fruits.

Squeeze more from your money!

This heavy-duty, commercial-grade lemon squeezer was designed to drastically reduce prep time and is the perfect way to keep fresh-squeezed lemonade ready to sell. Thanks to the raised juicing platform, almost all lemonade cups, including souvenir cups, fit directly underneath the juicer. Perfect for lemonade or any citrus fruits.

And now, the Lemonator® (#5314) is NSF approved and has a new pusher cone to help juice the lemon in a flash. It’s also easier than ever to profit from this durable machine with two simple conversions for a Deluxe Apple Hacker.


  • Heavy-duty cast aluminum
  • Easy lever action
  • Suction cups hold squeezer in place

Pair it with specially formulated, ultra-smooth #1119 Polar Pete® Neutral Slush Base and the sky is the limit when it comes to flavor! Made with AllCane® and our signature Slusherizer stabilizer—no added corn syrups or artificial substitutes—this all-natural base is primed for adding your favorite taste. Choose from a variety of eye-catching hard-plastic souvenir or waxed paper cups for maximum profits.

These new products are just one more way Gold Medal saves time and money at the one-stop shop for profit power!

The Only UL & UL Sanitation Listed Floss Machine The Only UL & UL Sanitation Listed Floss Machine - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

Gold Medal did it again. It has created the only UL & UL Sanitation Listed floss machines on the market today. Now, businesses and fundraisers can become their areas’ profit leader thanks to the patent-pending quick-release floss cap and floaters, and the newly designed cabinets.

Unique to Gold Medal, these state-of-the-art aspects:

  • Make cleaning a cinch without tools because of the spring-loaded retaining cap
  • The molded-rubber floaters, which can be easily adjusted to spin the perfect cotton candy in any climate, are bacteria and debris-resistant

Experience the huge difference of a smaller footprint. Gold Medal integrated the following features to help operators profit—no matter what their working space. Plus, the redesigned cabinet keeps the profits spinning throughout the years.

  • Secure floss heads during transportation thanks to the restyled, extremely compact Lock-N-Go® feature, now available as a standard feature on #3030C & #3052C
  • Prevent sugar from reaching the motor or switches with the redesigned bell housing sugar seal
  • Hold floss bowls in place using the new positioning brackets with bumpers
  • Easily replace cords with the IEC power connector—ideal for frequently moved machines

Gold Medal started the revolution 63 years ago and became the industry standard for cotton candy sales when it perfected a machine that automatically rolled paper into a tapered cotton candy cone. Sales greatly increased per hour and more locations could sell cotton candy, as the slow hand-rolling process was eliminated. And now it has done it again with the only UL & UL Sanitation Listed cotton candy machine in the world today.

These and other revolutionary innovations are why Gold Medal is still the gold standard for concession equipment and supplies. The company leads the way with flavors/Flossugar like traditional money-making "blue" and "pink" sugars (Boo-Blue and Silly Nilly), packs pucker power with items like Sizzling Lemon-Sour, sweetens the deal with Maple and a new seasonal Winter Frost, and boosts profits with the scrumptious chocolate-covered series of cherry, orange, and strawberry.

But operators need to act fast, reap rewards, and become the leader in customers' eyes. With advances this monumental, the competitive edge will quickly become the new standard for cotton candy production.

For more information and hi-resolution images, go to:

Multi-Million Dollar Growth Under New V.P. - Click to read more

Cincinnati, Ohio

In the last 20 years, international sale totals have grown 14-fold, creating double-digit increases year after year—thanks in part to David J. Garretson, the newly appointed V.P. International Sales. Since 1990, Garretson has helped Gold Medal's global presence expand, including large, recent growth in Brazil, Russia, India, and China. These consistent, multi-million-dollar advances come from developments like the explosion of worldwide movie theatres and customers enjoying new concession concepts.

Garretson's first job was an international sales assistant, but he quickly rose up the ranks. He became a territory manager in 1993, and then manager of the international department in 2000. Garretson said his philosophy has always been “responsiveness, honesty, and relationship-building."

Dan Kroeger, President and CEO of Gold Medal, agreed. "When you see our international dealers approach David at a trade show, you see two things," he said. "The first thing is friendship, then a business relationship built on trust."

Garretson, who began his career with a degree in political science and law-oriented diplomacy in foreign affairs, knew he wanted an internationally focused career after a momentous trip in high school to see his brother. At the time, the older brother worked for Nestlé and lived in Switzerland.

Multi-Million Dollar Growth Under New V.P.

Since then Garretson has been looking toward the future and knows he wants to assist Gold Medal in continuing to introduce the world to the tasty, traditional treats Americans have loved for generations.

"For me, it's always been more than just the sales. It's been about talking to people, getting to know them, and how we can help. People appreciate knowing they are going to get a detailed, thoughtful response just for them," Garretson said. “It’s about helping them grow and succeed by thoroughly explaining what the food concept is, and how it applies to what they are going to do."

Interesting Facts:

  • Gold Medal began in 1931 in Cincinnati, OH. It now has 12 locations, including its 470,000-square-feet manufacturing headquarters in Cincinnati.
  • The company is still a family-owned and family-operated concession equipment and supply manufacturer that now distributes worldwide to more than 185 countries.
  • Popcorn and nachos have always been top-sellers, but other concession classics like hot dogs, caramel corn, and other candy-flavored popcorns are quickly becoming top treats around the globe.
  • Garretson's first Gold Medal trip was to the UK in 1992. Since then, he has flown more than 1,300,000 miles presenting Gold Medal to the world.

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