written by Rebecca Goulter
Meet Ben and Diane.
These two big personalities have been purveyors of popcorn at the Eagle Farm Markets since 2016, delighting customers with their friendly chatter and EXTREMELY addictive product. We decided to sit down with Ben and have a chat about market life, magic and popcorn.
1. What did you both do before you started up the market stall business?
Diane has a history in hospitality, retail and aged-care. Myself? I used to create magic tricks for a living. I’ve also had my own advertising agency. Now-a-days, I’m a struggling author.
2. We know that you’re a multi-talented wizard, author and popcorn maker. Tell us more about your experiences.
Yes, I do write professionally. I’m published in various genres, both fiction and non-fiction. As a writer, the markets provide a fertile ground populated with amazing characters and incredible stories. For the protection of my pseudonyms, I can say no more. I also spent my younger years creating and designing magic tricks. Co-conspirators included the biggest names in magic: Doug Henning, David Blaine, and so on. I even did some design for Disney! The magic, in a way, lives on through the Wizard concept.
3. What made you decide to start the stall?
You gotta pay the bills between book deals, which can be three years apart. So, Uber-driving, or…? We’ve always wanted to do something together, as a team. We initially desired a food truck (exotic Asian cuisine), but the expense and risk seemed way too severe: $150,000 and all the rules, regulations and licenses. A marquee and a great market environment? Well, that seemed within reach. We could tackle it without great financial risk or stress.
4. What’s the best thing about having a market stall?
The reaction we receive from first-time customers when they initially taste one of our exotic flavours. Something like Musk or Mandarin. It’s great watching their faces change. We pride ourselves on quality, freshness and innovation. We LOVE to see it produce results, live, at the market.
5. Is there anything new coming your way in 2018?
Oh, yes. We’re working up some exciting new flavours, including: Coconut Ice, Fiery Chilli, Hemp Seed and Rosemary, and a popping candy variety. It will be a popped corn that keeps on popping in your mouth!
6. Why do you think customers love Wizard Popped Corn at the market?
We’ve built up a solid base of regular customers who we LOVE to see weekly. I think they enjoy our enthusiasm and the freshness of the product. We make our popped corn with a passion, and I think it shows. I hope it shows.
7. What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
Well, we feared that other stallholders would be nasty, ruthless and hard to get on with, like in the restaurant industry. We were wrong. Our fellow stallholders are the nicest, friendliest, and greatest people. We’ve made many new friends and have also gained much wisdom from engaging our neighbours at the market.
Well, Ben, thank you for catching up with us. We think your passion for what you do shines through every Sunday, and we can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for Wizard Popped Corn.
Make sure you stop by and say hi, and sample some of these insane(ly delicious) new flavours!