Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brent VanFossen, Owner of Metropolis Popcorn, located in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We make and sell over 50 flavors of gourmet popcorn. Our customers are primarily families with children. We also service schools and sports teams through our fundraising program and business with our corporate gift options.

Tell us about yourself

In 2009 and 2012, I was a casualty of corporate downsizing. After it happened the second time, I vowed never to work for anyone again. I started looking for businesses to purchase in the summer of 2012 and was pleasantly surprised to find a local business in my hometown. I was even more surprised to find that it was an opportunity to make money and have fun at the same time - what an idea! For over ten years now, my wife and children have continued to motivate and inspire me to improve and grow.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

When Ohio went into quarantine in March 2020, there was a lot of uncertainty about the future of our business. We quickly pivoted and relied almost solely on e-commerce to keep us afloat. We not only survived but thrived in this environment. We ended up purchasing a second location in Hudson, Ohio, and having our most successful year ever at that point.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

There are a number of things that are difficult about owning a business. At each stage of our growth, new challenges arise. Currently, the most difficult thing is recruiting and retaining managerial staff. As a small business, the salary we offer may be less than that of a big corporation. Exploring creative ways to compensate key employees besides a paycheck is an exciting but not easy task.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be open to change.
  2. Don't be the smartest person in your company.
  3. Surround yourself with successful people outside of work.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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