Popping up big

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2005

Steve Grossman could be a celebrity in the world of microwave snacks, and he said he’s ready.

Recently, Microwave Roasters, the company Grossman runs in the South Dallas Industrial Park, announced its snacks will be included on test runs in Alabama and Georgia Wal-Marts, as well as Winn Dixies in Alabama.

“We’ve just gotten our products into 93 Wal-Marts in this state,” Grossman said.

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The former American Candy employee produces and sells microwave snacks like peanuts, onion rings, bacon flavored snacks and pigskins, which seem to be his biggest innovation yet.

The snacks come at least three to a box, and are capable of producing fresh, low-fat snacks in less than two minutes.

And Grossman points out, it’s fun for people to watch it happen.

In a press release, he stated that the bags he holds a patent on, allow customers to see the snacks cook, to preventing burning or undercooking.

“The bag is the secret,” he said.

Grossman said his snacks, which he’s been selling for the last four years, could break into the big time with the new accounts.

His Microwave Roasters will be selling in 93 Wal-Marts, distributed from the Opelika Distribution Center.

If it catches on, and Grossman feels it will, Microwave Roasters could be everywhere.

“We have the potential for this to be a real mass market product,” he said.

Currently, Grossman can produce about 7,000 cases of product at the facility in South Dallas. He employs eight people to package and ship the snacks. If the Wal-Mart account pays off, he said he could more than double his production.

On a personal level, Grossman said it means he’ll be a lot more secure financially.

“I may not have to buy four-day-old bread and sneak the lettuce out of the dumpster,” he joked.

Grossman said there’s already signs of success in some stores. The Wal-Mart in Prattville has already sold out, and have questioned Grossman about getting more product in sooner than scheduled. The accounts with Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie could lead to new accounts, he said. Grossman said there have been several times when he’s attempted to sell the product to new retailers that they’ve commented the snacks are great, but they won’t buy until the product is in other stores.

“When one tries to break into the mass consumables market,” Grossman said, “you need to prove your credibility.”

He knows that the new accounts are a step in that direction.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve had a feeling like that,” Grossman said.