For Allison and Larry Carlson of California Gold Kettle Corn, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed some unique challenges. In 2019, their young business was gaining momentum, and they planned to spend two years taking their kettle corn tent to as many fairs, festivals, and events as possible. They would spend carefully and save thoroughly and, in 2022, pay outright for a customized food trailer—but when Covid-19 took hold across the country, news of cancelled events started flooding in.
Time To Readjust
Without the event-specific permits allowing them to operate their food tent, they would need a Mobile Food Facility Permit to stay in business. This meant buying a food trailer before they had planned, and it led them to California Capital FDC’s Lending Center.
“[Allison and Larry] came to California Capital with a detailed business plan, well thought-out projections, and knowledge of the permitting process, ” says Judy Fletcher, California Capital FDC’s Chief Lending Officer. “She shared with us that at first, she and Larry were devastated by the impact the pandemic had on their business. But being resilient, they were not going to allow the shutdown to shut them down.”
Mission-Based Lending Supports Sustainable Success
With decades of entrepreneurial experience, The Carlsons know what it takes to grow an idea into a highly demanded product and a thriving business. Still, Allison reveals, they appreciated the diligence of California Capital’s lending team.
“For them to be able to make me think even harder [about my proposal] is why I think that program is one of the best out there,” she says. “I actually have someone who is going to test my theory, test my projection.”
To be sure, the Carlson’s dedication to securing a loan was not the only area in which their entrepreneurial tenacity was revealed.
“At a time when shelter in place forced many closures and modified work schedules, it made it very difficult to schedule appointments with the CHP office to clear DMV inspection and the Department of Health when so many fires had threatened Northern California,” explains Daisy Po’Oi, Loan Documentation and Closing Officer.
“Through it all, Larry and Allison found a way to capitalize on an opportunity in the mobile food industry that has now driven many businesses to explore even more so than ever before.”
Ready For What Comes Next
With the support of their sons, minds that are constantly working to envision the next opportunity for their enterprise, and ongoing support from California Capital, The Carlsons are poised to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. The food trailer will allow California Gold Kettle Corn to have a presence across the state, and Allison is hoping to begin onboarding new employees beginning this summer. Having spent the last three years mapping the landscape for mobile food sales, the family business is ready to focus their time at the events that promise the highest impact.