Victor Zinder, founder of Victor Products, started the company in 1953, but his interest in the concessions industry started long before. For more than a decade prior he worked his way up the ladder from the fifth-floor roasting peanuts to the first-floor shipping department at a now defunct Philadelphia-based concession supply company (& one of only a handful of producers of commercial popcorn at the time) called Chunk E-Nut Products.
Upon returning from World War II, Victor decided he’d be better off on his own, and packed up his family and moved to Richmond, VA, the home of one of his biggest clients at Chunk E-Nut Products, Royal Speedway (now Southside Speedway). On October 18, 1953, he opened his business selling concessions out of the back of his car before eventually moving his operations into a building at 107 N. 17th St.
After about a year running the one-man-shop (with the occasional help of his wife Sonia), Zinder expanded again to 211 W. Seventh St. in South Richmond. With the extra space, he was able to start producing snow cone syrup in-house, acquiring a small syrup business from G.K. Loving.
Following the acquisition of the snow cone syrup line, Victor focused on creating a container to help people hold the popcorn he was also selling. Through some tinkering he was able to produce a megaphone-style popcorn container using old milk containers without the wax. When the supplier of his megaphones dropped him as a customer, Victor seized the moment and took the production in-house. The megaphones became a prolific part of Victor Products, selling to places like Parker Field and the Astrodome in Houston.
After increasingly stringent health code restrictions eventually halted production of the megaphone-style popcorn, Victor turned his sites to popcorn tubs, through his subsidiary, Butterful Inc. His unique idea to create tub-sized popcorn cups took off and Victor Products expanded its operations to two plants, one on N. 18th Street in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom (where Victor Products operates today), and one on Mactavish Avenue in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood.
As business grew, Victor’s sons, Mitch and Marty started to help and eventually took over the business after Victor’s passing in 1992. Around this time, Victor Products started yet another new division of the company, equipping and designing commercial kitchens. It was a natural transition, as customers began diversifying their concession food options, and thus the equipment they’d need to produce them.
Today, Victor Products primarily focuses on commercial kitchen consulting, designing, supplying, and installing everything from walk-in refrigeration to fryer to pizza ovens, and everything in between, in restaurants, school cafeterias, churches, stadiums and concession trailers. Victor Products also still sells a full line of concession equipment and supplies including popcorn, caramel corn, snow cones, cotton candy, nachos, hot dogs, and corn dogs and its flagship brands, Victor’s Candy Apple Magic and Dipsy Dog corn dog mix.