Up North Blog

Happy Birthday, Boomchunka!

Cherry Republic’s first food product– the first Cherry Boomchunka Cookie was baked 20 years ago.  For two decades, we have been baking, packaging and selling this dynamite mixture of chocolate, cherries and oatmeal.

Here are some fun stories of our most famous of all the products we make:

The name Cherry Boomchunka didn’t come to me overnight.  I can remember writing pages and pages of name ideas.  I took a fun word and mixed it with a descriptive word and come up with Boomchunka.  Then, I made a short list of my favorite names and started showing it to people to see if they could help me narrow it down.  Slowly I whittled the names down, but even though people would laugh at Boomchunkas and mispronounce it, and choose all the other names, I just couldn’t take it off the list.  Finally, I had had enough of my brothers and friends making fun of the name.  I was ready to prove them wrong!

Six months after creating the Cherry Boomchunka, the company was losing money by the fistfull.  Every week we would make a delivery to all the convenience stores and groceries in the area.  We would take back the unsold cookies which were now stale and replace them with new cookies.  But after replacing the old ones, but the company was losing $5 dollars at every stop.  Multiply that by 100 stores and the company was losing $500 a week!  But I was told to expect to lose money at the start so I kept searching for new sales with many adjustments along the way.  And somehow, all that creative tinkering and nimbleness has grown the company to over 170 products!

We have had more fun with this cookie than any other product we’ve created.  We have had radio advertisements where the pilot announces that the plane is about to crash.  “but as an apology for your inconvenience, the stewardesses will be passing out free Cherry Boomchunka cookies.”  The passengers cheer uproariously!   And we have had a rock song written about the cookie with the famous line, “Boomchunka, Boomchunka, I love you.”  I had a little delivery van with this tag line plastered all over it– “When in doubt, eat a cookie.”  In the cafe, whenever someone orders our cookie, we hit the boomchunka drum.   I think that cookie, even though it is the oldest product we have, keeps us young!

I had some other advice when I was new in business.  Somebody told me to focus on just one product.  “Coke, sells just coke, learn from them.”  So, I tried to keep my focus on one solitary cookie with dried cherries, white chocolate and oatmeal.  Finally, Coke produced Diet Coke and the floodgates were released– Chocolate Pecan Boomchunkas, Double Dark Boomchunkas, Coconut Boomchunkas, Heart Shaped Boomchunkas, Harvest Boomchunkas and so many more to come.