San Antonio’s Southside is home to a very special community of creators, hard workers, and people that inspire–many of which own small businesses in and around the Southside. The Southside Makers and Shakers blog series will showcase these unique businesses and their passionate owners. Each addition to the series offers new insight into the community, and the gente that make the Southside so unique.
Interview with Maria Soto of Sweetie’z Kettle Corn
Tell us about yourself and your business.
My name is Maria Soto. I’m from the south side of San Antonio where I’ve lived my entire life and I am the proud owner of Sweetie’z Kettle Corn. Growing up on the south side, I met my husband of 55 years and we have four beautiful children who all attended local schools including Adam Elementary, Harlandale and Health Careers High School.
My husband was a very hard worker and soon after he retired we became involved with helping a friend in the kettle corn business. We enjoyed attending different events and meeting new people. We loved everything about kettle corn so much, that two years later we decided to branch off to start our own small family business and named it “Sweetie’z Kettle Corn.” We now have over 10 years experience popping delicious kettle corn and are available for sporting events, fundraisers, parties, and more. Our delicious kettle corn comes in all different sizes. We pop our homemade kettle corn as orders come in so that it’s freshly made. We offer our homemade famous kettle corn and caramel flavors.
My husband passed away in May of 2020 and since then my family and I have kept his dream alive as we continue to grow. Our business is truly a family-owned business. From my sons and daughters, sons-n-law, daughters-in-law, and all my grandchildren, everyone plays a special role in this business and we are proud of the Sweetie’z Kettle Corn brand and who we are today.
What makes the Southside special to you and your business?
The south side is special to my family because it is the heart of where we grew up. The south side has always been home for us and is now home to our business. We live off of highway IH-35, where we prepare and pop all orders. Customers have the option for pick up and more than half of the events we participate in are on the south side. There is a true sense of pride and culture that the southside of San Antonio has when we attend events and meet new customers. Having a shared bond of feeling connected with the south side makes it so special. We continue to live and breathe the south side to showcase our family business and that’s so special to us. We continue to showcase our heart and talents to the small town we love and know.
What is your favorite part about working on the Southside?
The community is so strong and tight knit. It’s like working in our own small town, everywhere we go we know someone and get to share our story, or even better run into family to catch up with while we are out and about. We know we can always count on the strong support system from the community on the south side of town. From people we just met at an event to our longest, best customers, we love the south side.
What makes the Southside unique compared to other parts of San Antonio?
Our customers. We truly value and appreciate our customers. We have been blessed with the opportunity to meet some of the most special people who touch our lives. Every order matters to us, from the smallest to the biggest order. Each order has a special purpose and we love making our customers happy. We have the most loyal customers, some that call us for every single event they host and that alone means the world to us. The southside brings us the most valued and treasured customers who keep our business alive and growing.
What does your typical day on the Southside look like?
Every morning is a good morning as I stop by to visit my husband at the San Fernando Cemetery. It’s my time with him to express how proud he would be of the treasured business he created. I know he is always with me and my family in everything we do, from family time to business efforts, he is there. On a daily basis, I check my social media accounts for messages, new events and keep in touch with our customers. Every now and then I go visit my favorite panaderia down the street on Pleasanton Road or one of my favorite restaurants, The Texan, where I have made some of the sweetest friends with the staff. I typically have family or friends visit me during the day, which always makes my day brighter. And to end my day on a good note, when we have orders to fill, my family will come over after work to complete the orders and have it ready for pickup or delivery the next day.
How can customers find you?
We know that the Southside is full of makers and shakers. Do you have a small business or creator on the Southside that inspires you? If you do, nominate that person (or yourself), to be a part of VIDA’s new series! Submit your nomination on the Contact Us page.
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