Aspen Brownie Works has landed a sweet gig on QVC television, which will feature the local company and its products while it broadcasts live from the Food & Wine Classic.
Jim Pomeroy, co-owner of the brownie company, said he and his wife, Jill, recently wrapped up their negotiations with QVC for their airtime.
Ken O’Brien, director of merchandising for QVC, said negotiations didn’t take too long.
“Both companies were eager to try this,” he said via email.
The Pomeroys anticipate enormous exposure and market reach for their small company — QVC has an audience of more than 100 million people.
“Your potential audience is gigantic,” Jim Pomeroy said. “It’s basically free advertising.”
A local agent working on behalf of Aspen Brownie Works worked with QVC to land the deal. The Pomeroys had heard that QVC was looking to feature a local food vendor from Aspen during the epicurean weekend.
O’Brien said QVC was interested in Brownie Works because it’s unique.
“We look for high-quality items with a unique point of view, a compelling story and the ability to offer it at the best value to our customers,” he said.
The multimedia retailer reached out to the Pomeroys, brownie samples were sent to QVC headquarters in West Chester, Pa. and the “rigorous” process began for the small business owners to learn the ropes of television.
Jill Pomeroy will be on camera selling boxes of 20 half-sized brownies of the raspberry, chocolate, espresso dark chocolate, and caramel and walnut varieties.
Jim Pomeroy said he hopes to sell a couple thousand boxes during the broadcast, but he expects more hits — and sales — on both companies’ websites.
The Pomeroys said they are equipped to handle the influx of business because they have a baking partner in Greeley, which makes Aspen Brownie Works products according to the company’s recipes. Most of Aspen Brownie Works’ sales come from the internet and mail orders; about 50,000 brownies are sold annually.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Jill Pomeroy started the company in 2003 (then known as Cloud 9 Brownies), with a couple wholesale clients and a presence at the Aspen Farmers’ Market. About 1,000 brownies were sold annually back then.
Jim Pomeroy recalled a customer at the farmers’ market who requested a significant amount of brownies be shipped to the people on her Christmas list.
“It almost killed us,” he said about the small company’s production operation.
In 2006, Jim Pomeroy joined the company, and together, the husband-wife team grew their reach.
“We’ve shipped all around the world,” he said.
In 2010, the company’s name was changed from Cloud 9 Brownies to Aspen Brownie Works because of copyright concerns. Another company called Cloud 9 Chocolate had copyrights to the name and the Pomeroys consulted lawyers to determine if it would be a problem. They said it would be if the local company became bigger and the Cloud 9 people noticed.
“Fighting trademark infringement is very expensive and dangerous,” said Jim Pomeroy, who added that they worked with a consultant to rename the company. “We had to do it.”
Aspen Brownie Works will be featured during a three-hour program hosted by David Venable called “In the Kitchen with David — Live from the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. MST on Sunday, June 17, on QVC, which will broadcast from the Aspen Meadows.
The program will feature the season’s culinary “must-haves,” as well as celebrity guests including Lidia Bastianich and Susan Feniger. Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin also is scheduled to stop by the broadcasts. Assisting Venable with celebrity and guest interviews will be media personality Sissy Biggers. Biggers, who regularly hosts the Food & Wine Classic Cook Off, will assume an additional role this year and serve as a guest correspondent during the QVC broadcast.