Cataloger Q&A: Dale and Thomas Popcorn Focuses on Cross-channel Promotion and Matchbacks
A four-year old food gift company co-owned by former basketball great and current New York Knicks coach and president Isiah Thomas, Dale and Thomas Popcorn launched its direct-to-consumer business in late 2004 with an e-commerce enabled Web site. With a catalog in the mail to its retail customers by fall of 2005, the direct business grew 800 percent in the first year. Paul Goodman, senior vice president of e-commerce and marketing for the young company, recently talked to Catalog Success Associate Editor Matt Griffin about what led to the decision to launch a catalog, as well as how the direct channel and retail business are working together.
Catalog Success: How did the company evolve?
Paul Goodman: Just about four years old, the company started out as Popcorn Indiana. It was a store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on Broadway at 77th St. It’s evolved over the past four years into a multichannel company with retail, direct to consumer via catalog and Web, corporate sales and wholesale.
Catalog Success: Why the name change?
PG: Two years into the life of the company, Isiah Thomas was in the neighborhood of our first store, smelled the popcorn and sort of demanded to be part of the company. He’s one of the biggest popcorn lovers ever. He’s got a strong emotional attachment to it. It’s all about sharing and being with family. The emotional attachment for him comes from when he was very young, sitting around watching TV with a bowl of popcorn. He’s always wanted to be involved with popcorn, and when he saw us, he knew this was his opportunity. When he became a part of it, they rethought the name of the company. Thomas is for him, and Dale is a third generation popcorn farmer from Popcorn, Ind.
Catalog Success: How much involvement does Thomas have in the business?
PG: He’s an investor. He’s a little preoccupied these days with the Knicks.