I bet you could go for a nice warm bag of gourmet popcorn just this minute, right? Maybe a bag of garlic parm, salt and vinegar, lemonade, maple chipotle, ranch, salted caramel, pure maple, Buffalo wing, dill pickle, cheddar, or black truffle? If that’s the case, then we’ve got some exciting news for you. What’s Pop-In Gourmet Popcorn, formerly a pop-up business, has signed a lease for a storefront at 418 West Ferry.
The idea behind the gourmet popcorn business can be attributed to owner/Chef Stefan Coker (known as a “flavor mastermind”) who was playing around with flavor profiles for tacos. Ultimately he adjusted his focus to flavorful popcorn concepts, which ended up taking off in ways that he could not have imagined. Today the business is popping up 23 different flavors, with more on the way, such as rice crispy treat, BBQ pineapple, candied pecan, and of course… taco!
Up until this point, What’s Pop-In Gourmet Popcorn has been setting up popcorn bars at parties, festivals, weddings, and business events. The warm reception of the product has been the inspiration behind the new store location. What’s Pop-In Gourmet Popcorn will have a home base that will serve as a primary retail spot for the popcorn, and other flavorful products.
“We’ve been doing this since 2015, when I was the Executive Chef at Larkin Square (The Filling Station),” said Stefan. “It kinda started off as a joke, but then it completely took off. Now, we’re releasing crazy and outlandish popcorn that people are loving. We also have a full service catering company, but the popcorn is selling so well that it looks as if we will be transitioning into mainly popcorn. We’re ready to showcase the new space to the community. I want to be a voice in the community, especially for the families. I’m hoping to have a family movie night on the West Side, where we can give out popcorn to all of the kids. I also want to participate in community-minded events – anything that I can do to help revamp the neighborhood.”
The new home base came about after local community activist Bernice Radle (Buffalove Development) purchased the building, which has two storefronts (the second one is available for $650 – 500+ square feet, move-in ready). Bernice told me that Stefan grew up in the neighborhood, and after moving to the suburbs many moons ago, is ready to invest his time and money into the West Side community.
The average American consumes 42 quarts of popcorn a year.
As for the building itself, Bernice says that she can’t wait to remove the vinyl and expose the transom windows, which are lying in wait. On the day that the vinyl is removed, she plans on having a “vinyl party”, where she has someone spin records as part of a fun reveal event. Now that sounds like a lot of fun, and all for a good cause.
Anyone interested in taking a look at the available space can call Buffalove Development at 716-235-5563. Find What’s Pop-In Gourmet Popcorn on Facebook.