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Since The 1930's, Gold Medal Concessions = Profit

Since The 1930's, Gold Medal Concessions = Profit

Cincinnati, Ohio

Gold Medal In The News - Featured In This Month's Carousel News Magazine

By Carrie Lynne Tierney 
Special to The Carousel News & Trader 

Nothing stirs the senses more than the smell of warm, buttery, fresh-popped popcorn and no one does it better than Gold Medal Products. If you are at the movies, the Friday night high school football game or just finished riding your favorite carousel; you probably enjoyed a Gold Medal food product while you were there. Since the 1930s, Gold Medal popcorn, Sno-Kones and other products continue to be our favorite snack food. Carousel News and Trader readers have asked us to learn what makes Gold Medal Products so good and how their profit counselors help carousel operators rake in the dough with food concession sales. 

Dan Kroeger, President and CEO of Gold Medal Products, Cincinnati, OH, gave CN&T access to go behind the scenes and see what keeps this company No. 1 in concession foods for more than seventy years. 

Whether you are the operator of a carousel; amusement park or run a community parks and recreation department; Gold Medal products more than likely fill your mobile and permanent concession stands. All over the United States and in twenty countries and growing, Gold Medal Products is the true industry leader in concession foods, equipment and so much more. Imagine the challenge and fun Gold Medal's official, Flavor Technologist, Todd Sunderhaus, has in creating new flavors for Gold Medals customers each year. Customers from as far away as Japan anxiously anticipate each year's new products. This year will not disappoint any customer.



Gold Medal's new products were revealed at the IAAPA Expo in Las Vegas, November 2009. Attendees were thrilled to see the new products roll out from Gold Medal.

"Not only is it fun for us to introduce new products to our customers, but they know that every new product is a potential for new profits," says Chris Petroff, nineteen-year employee, and Western Regional Sales Manager, for Gold Medal.

Everything from the introduction of a new SnoKone, mobile-model unit, designed for the entry-level concession customer. The new unit, not requiring electricity to operate, is at an affordable price point. Veteran concession customers will look forward to adding this to their equipment.

"In addition, new gourmet popcorn flavors and a fresh made cheese popcorn tumbler are big hits this year," says Petroff.

"At IAAPA, we introduced the Cheese Popcorn Tumbler, and the entire drum rotates providing more thorough kernel coating coverage and less popcorn breakage."

"We got great feedback at IAAPA and at our fifty-first annual dealers meeting in early December. Customers and dealers agreed that the show is just as important as the food product. Most concessionaires realize the flash gets the cash," says Petroff. "The Tumbler is sure to be the flash that brings in the cash."

Petroff described how Gold Medal does more than listen to its customers; Gold Medal works with customers to come up with new models and improve equipment by testing prototypes in the field before full roll out delivery. New auto-shut-offs on popcorn kettles and improvements to mid-size cotton candy machines are just a few of the exciting models now available for the 2010 season," says Mr. Petroff. "Our dealers are the ears in the community and learn what our customers want." One such dealer, Coleman Concessions, remains loyal because of Gold Medal Products response to customers needs.

"Listening to and responding to our customers and their needs is our number one priority", "We treat our customers right with our 100% product/equipment guarantee. We have had customers who have suggested changing a piece on equipment and we do it," says, Daly McAfee, owner of Coleman Concessions, (Atlanta and Macon, Georgia). "We are working right now on a prototype with one of our customers in an amusement park and getting good feedback to give to the home office. Paying attention to every detail and providing every imaginable service is what Gold Medal does best," McAfee said.

McAfee knows what is out there and says, "Gold Medal is just superior to any other concession food and equipment manufacturer out there. They came up with the smallest Caramel Popcorn unit, less than five square feet, and the quality is the best caramel corn. We are seeing a tremendous boom in caramel corn. Gold Medal has the best 'totes' (rolling or table top equipment) and has everything from popcorn, funnel cakes, cotton candy, margarita machines, you name it, we have it. The 'totes' are all hot sellers and really bring in the profits for our customers."

"As a dealer", says, McAfee, "Gold Medal takes my suggestions and works with me to meet my customers specific needs. The food products taste the best; their equipment holds up long term and I never have customer complaints. Some concession businesses stock two lines, the low-end and then the high-end like Gold Medal. Customers who have tried Gold Medal will want nothing but Gold Medal. You just can't beat the taste of their products", says McAfee.

Most customers know that keeping that 'just popped' popcorn smell in the air certainly keeps folks lined up and wanting popcorn. How does Gold Medal Products make it possible? It all started back in 1931.

Gold Medal's Early Days
Gold Medal did not start out as a food concessions company. Back in January 1931, Gold Medal founder, Dave Evans, purchased Cincinnati's, Kings Ink Company. Dave manufactured and sold ink to the 5 &10 stores during the Depression and wanted to offer supplies his customers might need. Before long, Dave began manufacturing library paste and needed an attractive label for the 3-ounce jar. A local print shop had designed a gold medal medallion for a customer. The customer decided on something else. When Dave stopped in to the printers, he shared that he was looking for something special. The printer showed him the gold medal graphic. Dave selected it and the company's name was changed to Gold Medal Products.

Before long, Dave offered his customers his latest invention, David's Imitation Fruit Concentrate. From there, he began to specialize in other concession foods that could be made and sold easily. His Uncle, Walter Evans, who worked for Billboard Publishing, was well known in the carnival industry. Walter saw that David's fruit concentrate and other foods like popcorn, were huge hits with customers. He suggested larger packaging be used and more variety added, and this is when the first Sno-Kone was invented by Gold Medal Products. With the help of Uncle Walter, Dave and Gold Medal Products changed course and began to specialize in concession foods, equipment and packaging.

In January 1937, Cincinnati experienced a historical flood and the Ohio River reached over the twenty foot flood stage, rising past the second story of the Gold Medal Products building. Everything at the Pearl St., downtown location was ruined; but this did not stop Dave Evans.

The carnival operators were needing his product and he needed to get Gold Medal Products back up and operating again. With three hundred dollars, he was back in business.

By 1942, business had tripled and Gold Medal Products had to move to Third Street. There was a need to manufacture popcorn and Sno-Kone makers and with a strong economy in 1949, the concession food industry was especially strong. Innovative ideas and new product development brought cotton candy (floss) and other big hits into every carnival, amusement park and movie theater. Before long, Gold Medal Products were found all over the country because of the snack industry growth explosion. Concessionaires knew that the profit margin is incredibly high and continues to be today.

Gold Medal Products out grew their space and moved in the 1950s to a state of the art 92,000sq.ft building, and able to serve all markets, large or small. Gold Medal was the first to allow customers to custom design their cabinets and wagons. By 1997, a 410,000 square foot facility, housing more than three hundred employees was built. Gold Medal Products continues to be at this location and has room to expand. Good thing, they continue to have astonishing sales!

Gold Medal Today
The Sno-Kone is just one of many patented trademarks held by Gold Medal. SnoKones and flavored popcorn once made popular by the carnivals, now have ordinary people demanding to have the highest quality products like cotton candy, funnel cake, elephant ears, candy/caramel apples and popcorn. Each and every one, a Gold Medal specialty from production equipment to product.

Since the 1940s, folks go to their favorite movie houses, local amusement parks and want nothing more then the dependable and unique Gold Medal products they have come to love and enjoy. Nobody can have popcorn at home that tastes as good as it does at the movies. Thanks to Gold Medal's Flavacol®, a secret ingredient, we continue to crave Gold Medal's popcorn!

Gold Medal continues to dominate a recession proof industry that guarantees an incredibly high profit margin for their concession-selling customers.

"Ticket sales may cover the operating costs of a carousel, but it is the concessions that make the profits," says Terri Oyrazun, owner and operator of Tilden Park Carousel, Berkeley, CA. "To have high quality equipment that never needs servicing and food products that are demanded by carousel riders, makes Gold Medal Products the only company I want to do business with."

Whether you are a carousel operator or other type of Gold Medal customer, Gold Medal Products continues to manufacture quality equipment and food products for their customers, at their headquarters in Cincinnati, OH, for eight decades now.

Popcorn kettles and tumblers, cotton candy, snow-cone type and a variety of other concession-food equipment can be made to customer provided specifications in their sheet metal and fabrication facilities.

Product and project engineers at Gold Medal work to make sure no detail is overlooked. Offering more than two hundred models of popcorn machines and still designing new ones is what sets Gold Medal Products apart from the rest of the competition.

Dealers At the Front of the Line Bringing Customers the Best
With the help of a network of Gold Medal dealers, the company is known for providing every imaginable need a concessionaire might have from equipment to the boxes needed to hold the popcorn. More than three hundred dealers from across the United States and overseas, continue to help strengthen customer loyalty. (Gold Medal has ten branch offices and dealers in twenty countries, and still growing.)

Dealers pride themselves on reaching out to every customer from the one-man, mobile cart vendor to the international amusements parks and movie-theatre chains, specifically helping each customer select the right equipment, dealers serve as 'profit counselors' and help customers achieve extraordinary concession sales. It is this special service that makes Gold Medal the leader in the concession food industry.

At corporate headquarters, exporting products to places like Russia, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan and the Middle East, is all in a day's work. Gold Medal Products has the best international sales team in the industry. Assisting customers with everything from proper documentation as to how products are manufactured and ensuring appropriate electrical components and voltage are in compliance. Gold Medal can and does do it all. The International team represents Gold Medal at trade shows in Asia, Europe, Middle East and North and South America.

Amusements and Carousels are the Back Bone of Concession Food Sales
"Sixty percent of our business is 'popcorn' related. From the popcorn, flavoring, bags, boxes, equipment, you name it, we are a one-stop-shop-for-all, for our customers.", says Chris Petroff. "We know that the carnival and amusement industry, and that includes carousels, have been the backbone of our business for more than seventy years. The past year was a great one for us. Even with the economic down turn, people still visit their local parks and may be staying closer to home. They are always wanting food and we make sure they get their moneys worth," says Petroff.

Chris says that he loves servicing states West of the Mississippi and as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. Gold Medal products can be found at nursing homes, car dealerships, bars and lounges, schools, throughout the rental industry, and at a variety of venues most people wouldn't think of. And of course at carousels and amusement parks. "Everyone wants popcorn — popcorn makes everyone happy.", says Petroff.

NOTE: If you are in and around Georgia, Daly McAfee of Coleman Concessions would like to extend an invitation to their annual Open House to see the latest Gold Medal Products for 2010. For information, contact Coleman Concessions, 795 Fulton Street, Macon, GA 31206 or email them at [email protected].