Nutty Winooski business keeps growing - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Nutty Winooski business keeps growing

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Some people think Patrick Kompf is nuts.

"We have a lot of squirrel customers. The squirrels love us, that is for sure," he said.

That is because Patrick sells acorns -- online.  It's a business he launched about five years ago. So who buys acorns? Apparently, a lot of people.

"People with pet squirrels, people who are planting oak trees -- we do a lot of deer feed, crafts, businesses like Walmart, Disney," Kompf said.

In fact Kompf says Disney bought a lot of acorns to help promote the movie, Ice Age 4. They were handed out at one of the movie's premieres.  And he says they will be featured in another movie too. "The acorns are going to be in baskets in the movie Lone Ranger coming out soon from Disney," he said.

Acorno Acorns sells between 40 to 50 thousand pounds a year. Prices range from $1.50 a pound, to $3-4 dollars a pound, depending on the size of the order.  Kompf is the only employee, which means he packs most orders himself and even picks acorns locally, when he can.

"I just go out there with my acorn picker-upper and remove the acorns from the lawn. I will check back in a week to see if there are any more. I usually go within 20 miles of Chittenden County," he said.

He has advertised in some of the smaller newspapers offering to clear acorns for free, but the past couple of years have not been good for picking, thanks to early springs and late frosts.  So when he got a call from a homeowner in Colchester to clear their lawn, the crop was light.

A growing segment of Kompf's business is weddings. Many brides and grooms like to use acorns for decorations or for favors because of what the acorn symbolizes.

"Oak trees  represent being strong -- staying together, so it's very popular that people will plant acorns to represent that and when they see the tree growing."

The biggest seller is the Northern Red Oak acorn found in Vermont. But when he runs out of local product, Patrick buys product from other collectors across the country to make sure he can fill his orders and at the same time fulfill a dream. It's just something I have always wanted to do -- work for myself. I try and keep my customers happy and give them discounts when I can," he said.
One nutty order at a time.

Kompf also sells 300 kinds of tree seeds through another website. Click here for more information.

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