Just after the Christmas holiday and New Year, Myrtle Beach turned into a ghost town and tumbleweed floated in front of me as I drove up 21st Avenue towards Pelican stadium and the lights from Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland. Despite the major drop-off in activity, it remained up until January 8, 2012, complete with Santa’s Wonderland and the vendors within it.
Why was I heading over to Shadrack’s after the holiday? I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with Derek and Leah DeLuzio, owners of Bella’s Concessions – a business named after their sweet little daughter.
Bella’s is a family owned and operated business that provided fresh-popped kettle corn to Shadrack’s visitors for the entire duration of the event, something that can’t be said for many other vendors who left town after a major wind storm damaged the tent they were under and the number of visitors dwindled. The DeLuzios felt like they made a committment, though, and honored it, staying until the very last night.
During my visit, Derek talked me through the family’s decision on kettle corn as a business, how they chose their corn, and what’s next for Bella’s. I was there talkin’ kettle corn for no less than 90 minutes and I got quite the education.
I had to ask, “Why kettle corn?” Derek, an army veteran, explained that research ranks popcorn as the most popular snack in the United States. Fresh kettle corn isn’t something that can easily prepared at home, yet has a low enough price point at festivals, for example, that most families would give it a try. Add that to the variety of flavors Bella’s creates and there’s something for every palette.
Derek told me about how he took a great deal of time to choose just the right supplier. He went with a farm in Nebraska that provides very high-quality kernels. Normally I don’t accept free samples from businesses I’m writing about as to not compromise the integrity of the review. Derek and his family were persistent, though, and I did leave with a partial bag of kettle corn. Sure I shared a little with my husband and children and ate the remaining kernels for breakfast the next morning, but I still felt compelled to do some scientific comparisons.
Check out this picture. The kernel on the left is from Bella’s. The one in the middle is Pop Secret Kettle Corn from my microwave, and the one on the right is (and I love this) Harry & David’s Moose Munch. Nice, huh? There was no comparison in size and taste.
The kettle corn comes in Traditional, Caramel, Movie Theater Butter, Sweet Cheddar, and Jalapeno Cheddar flavors. I’ve had Traditional and I’m dying to try them all.
They will be at Paradise Resort with kettle corn, Hawaiian Shaved Ice, and Lemon Shakers all spring and summer. They’ll also be participating in as many festivals and community events as possible in 2012. And, if you really want something unique, Bella’s does special events such as baby showers, parties, and events. You can more information about that here.
As the business grows, Bella’s kettle corn will also be available for purchase at various locations across the Grand Strand. They will be adding several in March so stay tuned to the “Wholesale” tab on their site to find the one closest to you.
When you see them out and about the Grand Strand, stop by, grab some snacks, and say hello! The DeLuzios are certainly working hard to provide the area high-quality, delicious products at a great price.