Nothing goes together like popcorn and the movies. Thanks to C. Cretors and Company, the two have been linked from the very beginning, when moviegoers could buy popcorn not in the theater but outside it, from mobile trucks and food stands. A century-plus–and multiple generations–after Charles Cretors founded C. Cretors and Company, his great-great-grandson Andrew runs the business as president, keeping his family legacy alive. Boxoffice Pro spoke to Andrew Cretors on the occasion of his receiving the Ben Marcus Humanitarian Award at this year’s Geneva Convention.
The Ben Marcus Humanitarian Award is a prestigious honor to get in our industry. Professionally, we know your focus is on popcorn; on the philanthropy side, what are some causes or organizations that are near to your heart?
From a philanthropy perspective, anything that helps children is a most worthy cause. Children have so much to offer, and they start their lives with such open and curious minds. Anything that can be done to help them grow to be happy, healthy adults should be supported.
In the mid-‘90s, you worked a brief stint in the Global Engineering department at Amway. What brought you there, and what brought you back to the family business?
My father always said that if we (my sister, brother and I) wanted to work for C. Cretors and Company, we had to work somewhere else first. This is something that my grandfather did with my father, and it has proven to be a very wise practice. After I graduated from Michigan Tech University, in Houghton, Michigan, with a BSBA (with a concentration in MIS, or Management of Information Systems), I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was there that I found the position with Amway, helping their engineering team with new manufacturing equipment commissioning, time studies, and other duties as assigned.
Who are the mentors who have helped you the most during your career—both inside and outside the Cretors family?
I have had the fortunate opportunity to learn from a variety of business owners and leaders over the years. The greatest mentor has been my father, Charles D. Cretors. Being in a fifth-generation family business, we have a unique lexicon of stories and documents, passed down from generations. It is in those stories that lessons can be learned and considered when facing new situations.
For example, when WWII broke out in the U.S., any manufacturing that did not support the war effort was ordered to cease. Facing the demise of his company, my grandfather secured government contracts. This enabled him to see the company through to the end of the war. That experience was fresh in our minds as we faced the effects that Covid-19 had on the the movie theaters. As a result we developed sanitation and other products to help the movie theaters through that difficult time.