Popcorn, dog treats, pottery, jewelry — these are some of the products you’ll find this weekend at the Made in NH Try it & Buy It Expo.
In its 19th year, the expo will return to the Radisson Hotel in Manchester from Friday, April 4, through Sunday, April 6, to showcase all kinds of New Hampshire-made products and services.
“You get to try it and buy it, which means all the vendors are sampling,” said Kelly Keating, the events manager of New Hampshire Business Magazine, which puts on the show. “You can eat your way through the whole thing.”
With flavors like peanut butter cup, buffalo ranch and cinnamon sugar, Michele’s Sweet Shoppe gourmet popcorn will be part of the feeding frenzy. Michele Holbrook ventured into the popcorn business in 2007 on advice from friends.
“At the time I was a Girl Scout leader for my daughter and I would bring my white-chocolate-covered popcorn to meetings, and they would say, ‘You have to start a business with this,’” Holbrook said. “No one was focused strictly on [selling] gourmet popcorn that we were aware of.”
Since then her family popcorn business has grown tremendously and was even featured in the official Swag Bags of the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy in 2010 and the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in 2012. Out of her factory in Epsom, Holbrook produces the popcorn and distributes it throughout the state and country through her website.
Holbrook will be at the expo this weekend with samples of some of her popcorn flavors.
“With popcorn you can get pretty creative,” Holbrook said.
Though bringing your dog might be a bad idea, the expo offers products for pooches as well.
Barkin’ Biscuits, started in 2004 by Karen Goldthwaite and based in Bedford, offers all-natural, vegetarian biscuits for dogs. Their wheat-free and low-fat dog treats have been especially beneficial for those with pets who have special dietary restrictions and needs.
“[The products] do not contain salt, corn, soy, artificial ingredients, byproducts, fillers or preservatives,” said Goldthwaite.
The dog treats are shipped throughout New Hampshire and into Maine and Massachusetts. Dogs can enjoy the delectable tastes of some of their gourmet treats, such as yogurt bars, biscotti, pinwheels and pumpkin paws. The bakery also makes general peanut butter bones as well.
“We have been at the expo many times. People are always wowed by our packaging and we often hear how high-end and chic everything looks. Of course, the best part is what’s inside!” Goldthwaite said. “The expo always draws a great crowd who are very appreciative of New Hampshire-made products. We love to introduce our products to new customers and of course love to see our returning customers; we have gained some great wholesale customers as well, which we truly appreciate.”
The expo creates a place where small businesses in the state can interact with New Hampshire residents as well as each other. Keating noted that the expo features businesses that care about the quality of their products.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize the extent of the products made in New Hampshire, so we’re showcasing small businesses,” Keating said. “You’re buying quality goods rather than something that is internationally made and you get to talk with the vendor, and I think that’s important.”
“It’s a way to support your local businesses,” Holbrook said. “This particular expo brings vendors and consumers across the state together, and you see there is a lot of variety, [you] can get something that was made with care — made with love. We’re passionate about our businesses and it gives people an opportunity to come through and support it.”
As seen in the April 3, 2014 issue of The Hippo.