Only in your state. (Alabama) Guinness World Record Aww Shucks

You don't need big ideas and grand visions to do great things. All you need, really, is a seed of an idea, or, as you'll soon see, a kernel of inspiration.

In March 2020 as the country (and the world, really) faced what would be the beginning of a two-year pandemic, Alabamans Phillip and Avrie Powell did the impossible: they opened a business. And not just any old business: a vegetarian, gourmet, fire-roasted-corn, food-truck business. In Birmingham, Alabama. This is the story of how two ordinary people set their sights on something bigger and greater, not only succeeding, but thriving, inspiring, and setting world records along the way. This is the story of Aww Shucks, a unicorn of a business in Birmingham.

Interested to learn about other unique American small businesses? Our 2022 Small Business Spotlight series highlights the often-overlooked work of small business owners across the country, from Massachusetts to Southern California.

Phillip and Avrie Powell are a lovely couple from Birmingham, Alabama. They're also fire-roasted corn royalty. The Powells are the folks behind Aww Shucks, a gourmet fire-roasted corn food truck that's emerged as a force to be reckoned with. Not only has Aww Shucks weathered a global pandemic, but the couple has racked up a Guinness World Record while doing it, too. But we'll get to that momentarily. Remarkably, Aww Shucks is also a vegetarian food truck -- and yes, in Alabama, home of amazing Southern cuisine that doesn't skimp on meat but it's this carnivorous culture that actually planted the seed of an idea for Aww Shucks, explains Avrie."I am vegan and my husband vegetarian [...] many times we would go to games, festivals, and concerts, and there were no fresh veggies to choose from," she explains, adding that, even among the limited veg options, most were fried and often quite expensive. So Avrie and Phillip got creative. "We decided to create a whole food veggie product that was non-fried, delicious, and [that] people could afford," says Avrie. "Corn was perfect, because it can be roasted."Aww Shucks Fire Roasted Corn/FacebookRoasting corn is nothing new, of course, with Mexican street corn ubiquitous hand-held fare. But it had never been done like this.Aww Shucks Fire Roasted Corn/Facebook"What makes us stand out is that we offer 15 handcrafted, gourmet flavors, as well as 100% plant-based cobs, that the entire family can enjoy," says Avrie.The couple started Aww Shucks with just four flavors of roasted corn; today, there are more than a dozen different varieties, from Mexican Street Corn and Garlic Herb to Rosemary Lemon and Sweet Heat BBQ (because, this is the South, of course!). Making healthy, plant-based food accessible and delicious is really important to the Powells. "Our mission at Aww Shucks is to educate the community about the benefits of eating whole foods, to provide whole foods to food deserts and food-insecure areas, and provide delicious whole foods at an affordable price," explains Avrie. She adds that this desire for people to "eat more vegetables" is really what inspires the couple."At the beginning of the year, Aww Shucks did a free '7 Day Vegetarian/Vegan Challenge,' and over 200 people joined," she says. "The purpose was to engage the community and educate them about the benefits of eating more vegetables, preferably, whole foods," she says, adding that it was a huge success.And earlier this year, Phillip "Mr. Shucks" Powell joined the ranks at the Hoover Chamber of Commerce and we can only imagine the great things he'll do for the community. Aww Shucks isn't just doing great things in its little corner of the country, either. In September 2021, Aww Shucks won the Guinness World Record for "Most Corn Shucked by a 4 Man Crew in One Minute" in Birmingham, Alabama. "We beat the record at 38 cobs," says Avrie, proudly as a small business proprietors, Phillip and Avrie do it all, from shopping and deliveries...Aww Shucks Fire Roasted Corn/ events, markets, and social media. This is Corn-elius, the mascot of Aww Shucks -- and he's got moves!But in all seriousness, what quickly becomes apparent when talking to Phillip and Avrie is how much love and passion they have for Aww Shucks. It's not just a small business; it's their life.And what a life it is. With a successful business, legions of devoted followers, and a Guinness World Record under their belts, this dynamic duo is taking Birmingham, Alabama, by storm, one fire-roasted cob at a time.Aww Shucks Fire Roasted Corn/Facebook

So go ahead, make all the corn-related jokes you want. But this food truck is anything but corny; they're putting Birmingham, Alabama, on the culinary map, which, if you ask us, is nothing short of a-maize-ing.

Many thanks to Phillip and Avrie Powell for sharing the story of her inspiring and inspired small business in Alabama. Learn more about Aww Shucks at its website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Of course, Aww Shucks is just one of the many small businesses affecting positive change in Alabama; please nominate your favorite attractions and businesses for a chance to be featured in an upcoming Only In Alabama article. And be sure to follow Only In Alabama on Facebook and Instagram to learn about this region of the Cotton State's most incredible places, attractions, and events.