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Hannemann having a ‘Jolly Time’ in popcorn business

December 7, 2012
By Chris Bieri Tribune Editor , Pierce County Tribune

Christopher Hannemann is living up to the company name while working for one of the oldest companies in the snack business.

The son of Pastor Phillip and Linda Hannemann of Rugby, Christopher Hannemann has worked as Director of Consumer Marketing for American Pop Corn Company, which produces Jolly Time popcorn.

The company has been family run since it started in 1914, making it the oldest popcorn company in the nation, according to its website.

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"It's a fourth-generation business," Hannemann said. "It's a great company to work for from that aspect."

Hannemann, 35, worked for Sabre Industries for a dozen years after graduating from college before taking the position at Jolly Time, which was looking for someone with design talent who could also work with sales.

He works to build the Jolly Time brand, providing input on packaging and other branding materials and handles consumer relations.

Based in Sioux City, Iowa, the company employs around 160 people and gets most of its corn from Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.

Popcorn has been an American favorite for a century, but Hannemann said some of the company's biggest challenges have been to build on that traditional snack.

They've tweaked their logo flag, changing the color after other brands tried to copy their packaging, Hannemann said, while trying to develop different varieties.

"We have two consumers, the retailer and the consumer," he said. "Blast O Butter was developed in the mid 90s. That's been one of the most successful flavors."

In the past handful of years, Jolly Time has entered a partnership with Weight Watchers, creating healthier versions or butter and caramel apple flavor along with kettle corn and a low sodium option.

"The family-owned feel makes it a good company to work for," Hannemann said. "When we have to work on the brand, everyone comes together. They get involved. That's the whole basis of why the company has been around that long."

The company's chief clientele is families just like Hannemann's, who is married and has three children.

"Our main focus is families with kids at home," he said. "It's a family-time snack when you're watching TV or it's movie time. I've grown up with it for many years and we pop it on the stove."



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