For years, I’ve seen (and tasted) what looked like a homegrown Trenton business when I went to Sun National Bank Center and certain supermarkets in the suburbs. I wanted to know more about this business on-the-go for my work as a City Storyteller for The Citizens Campaign.
I did a Q&A with Nicole-Bailey Williams, owner of Capital Corn & Confections, asking questions about her gourmet popcorn company and beyond. She is a versatile individual who has amassed multiple accolades over the years and a Trentonian you should know.
Steve: I see that you are an award-winning teacher in addition to your popcorn business and even an author.
Nicole: Yes, I've been teaching for 21 years, and I've had a great deal of fun teaching and trying to inspire my students. While I've received commendations in the form of The Governor's Award for Teaching, Princeton University Finalist for the Distinguished Teacher Award, and a few more; the real awards come from former students who remember me on Mothers' Day and other holidays.
Steve: Wow, what else? Can you give me a brief bio?
Nicole: I'm a Philadelphia native, and I graduated from Hampton University with a BA in English Arts and Temple University with a Master's degree in Education. I hosted a book review show on WDAS for about 8 years while also juggling teaching and writing my first book, A Little Piece of Sky. Since then, I've written four more, and in the spirit of creation, I began making gourmet popcorn after tasting some yummy popcorn in the Midwest while on book tour.
Steve: What are your books about?
Nicole: They are pretty much coming-of-age novels in which we see my female, Philly-raised (of course) protagonists grappling with some pretty tough issues.
Steve: Is it the job that brought you to Trenton?
Nicole: My husband is a native Trentonian, so I hitched a ride!
Steve: What made you start Capital Corn?
Nicole: I've always wanted to do a food enterprise. My southern roots tell me to feed people to show that you care. Popcorn is so yummy, and it's a blank slate on which I can combine my favorite flavors. It just seemed like a natural match.
Steve: What are your busiest times of year and where do you sell your popcorn?
Nicole: My busiest times are mid-November through the holidays, with gift baskets and office party favors, and then late May until about July when there are gourmet popcorn bars for weddings and party favors for graduations. You can buy my popcorn with the good people at Marrazzo's, who have carried it for a few years. The goal that I'm working toward now is getting my own shop. Until then, people can always find me online aywww.trentonpopcorn.com or at 609.331.9POP. There have been a few other outlets that have carried it too: I'll be at Communiversity in Princeton in April, and I'm exploring doing the book festival in early May. Definitely the Capital City Market on Thursdays in the summer in downtown Trenton!
Steve: As a person who has accomplished so many different things, do you feel that you always have to be creating something? Is it a way of life?
Nicole: I do feel the need to create most times. I'm trying to learn to relax...but relaxation is hard!
Steve: What advice would you give younger Trentonians interested in opening their own business?
Nicole: Assemble your support team and commit to your plan "come hell or high water."