Active and sweet retirement for one Fresno man

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Every week, the popcorn comes hot and fresh at Old Tyme Kettle Korn.

"You can't just have a little bit. You've gotta have the whole bag. It's very good. One of the best ones I've ever tasted," said Roberto Martinez, of Fresno.

Customers like Roberto Martinez of Fresno can't get enough of the sweet treat from a man known as the kettle korn king.

Dennis Painter started Old Tyme Kettle Korn more than two decades ago.

"I saw the first guy out of California doing it, he was out of Sacramento. I think I was the second one to ever do this. So it became a hobby and became a pretty big business at one time," Painter.

He sold the business a few years ago but still helps out at the Kaiser Permanente farmers market where a booth is set up.

"It feels good. It gives me a focus for the week and it keeps me active. Two years ago I had back surgery and I couldn't have been out here," Painter said.

The 75-year-old lives at a Fresno senior living community and says there is plenty of life in retirement.

"I used to think 75 was kind of getting old, but I live at San Joaquin Gardens where 90 is the norm now," Painter said laughing.

Dennis says he has crafted the perfect formula to make it sweet yet salty.

"What you're doing is popping popcorn and caramelizing sugar at the same time, which means your temperatures have to be just right," Painter said.

Some customers come on a regular basis like Terry Simeon of Clovis, who often shares it with his grandson. He says it can be hard to put down sometimes.

A passion for popcorn that often brings others together.

Dennis plans to take a break during these cold winter months but will be back at it again in the spring. You can try Old Tyme Kettle Korn Wednesdays at the Kaiser Permanente Farmers Markets Wednesdays from 9 a.m. - 1:30 pm.
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