Maddy & Maize

Fancy Popcorn Made in Eden Prairie

“My friend had his daughter Maddy when I was first starting out. I have a relative named Maddy as well. Basically, I named my company after two people I’d only want to serve quality food to.”

Let’s be honest. You don’t grow up with a name like “Brett Striker” without becoming your own boss one day.

Brett’s only question was how. I am uncertain which jobs a bachelor's degree in psychology actually qualifies someone to do. I have one myself and still haven’t found out. But Brett resolved to use the one he had earned from University of Kansas to become an entrepreneur – a decision which would one day make him the gourmet popcorn baron of Eden Prairie.

“I’ve had business ideas all my life,” said Brett, founder of Maddy & Maize. “All but one of them didn’t go anywhere. Shortly after graduating I raised money for a casual dining concept akin to Chipotle, but that proved so hard to scale that it was basically dead on arrival. I wound up taking a job in tech sales for a few months while I went back to the drawing board. That’s when I had the idea to make popcorn.

“Why popcorn? Well, like most Midwesterners I enjoy eating it. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, I liked that fancy popcorn is made with all dry ingredients. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, frozen or cooked to a certain temperature to keep people from getting sick. But most of all, I loved that popcorn can get dressed up. Popcorn takes on flavors like chocolate caramel, birthday cake and cookies and cream perfectly, and that’s huge for an ice cream fan like myself. Popcorn is a relatively guilt-free food as well – even when it is all dressed up.

“I knew right from the onset that people enjoy taking big bites, so I sourced the biggest seeds I could find from local farmers. Today all of our seeds come from Nebraska. With that settled, I could move on to the best part: developing the flavors.

“I put a lot of thought into which popcorn flavors I’d most want to eat while I was experimenting in my little apartment kitchen. I got some crucial advice from my twin sister Erin back then, too. As someone who works with children, she was able to tell me what parents look for when they shop for kid-friendly snacks. That’s how I learned all about artificial dyes and synthetic ingredients, which I decided to keep out of my popcorn. I also strive to buy our ingredients from local sources whenever possible.

“Take my lemonberry cupcake popcorn, for example. We make it with real freeze-dried raspberries which we’ve ground into a fine powder, as well as real lemon oil extruded straight from the peel. That flavor tastes just like my cousin’s wedding cake which inspired it!

“I wasn’t really sure which steps to follow when the time finally came to begin selling my popcorn. I just knew never to take ‘no’ for an answer. A lot of determination and a lot of luck – they’re what drove me onward as I approached every brick and mortar store and online retailer which looked like they could be a good fit for Maddy & Maize.

“In retrospect, I’m glad I was so naive about how much hard work it would take to get established. I must have said ‘Hi! I’m Brett. I started a popcorn company, and I’d love for you to sell it in your store!’ to thousands of clerks and managers across Minnesota. If I couldn’t speak with a decision maker during my initial visit, then I’d leave behind a few bags for the staff to tear open in the back room. Hopefully they would like my popcorn so much that they’d mention it to their boss later on.

“Fortunately, Maddy & Maize is so good that it sells itself. I’ve gotten plenty of calls from store managers who wanted to know more about the popcorn their staff had eaten without them.

“I couldn’t ask to be headquartered in a better city than Eden Prairie. Clean, conveniently located and filled with great stores and customers, putting down roots here was kind of a no-brainer. I grew up in the west metro area. Long before I knew what kind of business I’d start, I knew I would start it here.”

Maddy & Maize’s fancy popcorn is available at fine local retailers including Kowalski’s. You may learn more about them and order online at maddyandmaize.com.

Related Businesses

Nothing Bundt Cakes (Atlanta)


Nothing Bundt Cakes (Atlanta)

Alpharetta, GA

Our Bundt Cakes are handcrafted in every bakery in a variety of delicious flavors and sizes. To top it all off, our bakeries...

Chandlers Prime Steaks and Fine Seafood


Chandlers Prime Steaks and Fine Seafood

Boise, ID

Chandler's is a locally-owned, upscale dinner house specializing in prime steaks and jet-fresh seafood. Enjoy a craft...

Trezo Mare Restaurant & Lounge


Trezo Mare Restaurant & Lounge

Kansas City, MO

Trezo Mare serves all styles of food with an emphasis on Italian cuisine, fresh seafood, and hard wood-fired steaks. Chefs'...

See More

Related Articles

See More