Carmazzi Caramel Corn winner of $5,000 grant

By Kelsey Wehsels

Local favorite Carmazzi Caramel Corn recently was one of 43 women-owned businesses nominated for the Sacramento Republic FC Kickstart award. After a significant interview process, Carmazzi Caramel Corn won the grand prize.

“Winning the grand prize grant earned $5,000 which I will use to help continue the growth of the business,” said owner Karen Carmazzi. “The heart of Carmazzi Caramel Corn has been and will always be Sacramento.”

Carmazzi Caramel Corn operates out of a licensed home kitchen on Eighth Avenue. However, the business is quickly expanding and currently looking for a retail space.

The business started as a fundraiser when owner Karen Carmazzi’s son was planning a trip to Europe and needed to raise money. The following year, her daughter did the same fundraiser for her trip. “Pretty soon people assumed it was a business and were placing reorders, and thus, I decided to turn it into a business instead of a fundraiser,” said Karen.

Since January 2017, the business has involved the whole family. Karen’s son, with an agricultural business degree from Cal Poly and a diverse food-processing background, works full-time for the business as vice president of operations. Her daughters help out from time to time, and her husband does most of the shopping.

“Last week I had my sister-in-law and mom help with the labeling,” said Karen. The recipe is a family tradition, starting with Karen’s grandmother (Grandmother Marie), who would make the caramel corn as a holiday treat. To this day, the recipe is a closely guarded family secret.

Carmazzi Caramel Corn products are made in a nut-free kitchen. They contain no soy, gluten, or high-fructose corn syrup. There is also a vegan option that uses Earth Balance instead of butter. Currently, the most popular item is the gift box of classic caramel corn; however, the newly introduced mini tins are gaining popularity.

The business operates online, shipping caramel corn as far as New York. But with the warm weather, the chocolate items cannot be shipped. There is a porch pick-up option on the website for customers to get their orders directly from Karen’s house.

“I enjoy decorating my porch with themes and holidays to make my customers’ porch pick-up experience fun!” she said. Local neighborhood drop-offs are available upon request.

Carmazzi Caramel Corn also can be found at Curtis Park Market and Taylor’s Market.

For more information, visit

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