I have wanted to open a popcorn store for quite a few years now. Through some chance happenings I began fostering teenagers. I then opened a non-profit branch in Michigan. I thought my dream of owning a popcorn store would not be able to happen. I saw a location in the same building as the non-profit become available and it was larger than what I would need for a popcorn store. I then knew that it was meant for me to incorporate my popcorn store into my volunteer work at the non-profit. Now, whenever the popcorn store is open, the non-profit is available to those who can utilize it.

Originally, before starting the non-profit, my idea was to make my own popcorn, and for a few months in 2014 I followed the cottage kitchen law and made popcorn to sell at a couple craft shows. Last year, I tried popcorn from Wisconsin and after a few bites, I decided it was the best popcorn I ever had. I then decided why try to compete with others who make popcorn. I would sell theirs.

I do not have to have the equipment, labor, or product to produce popcorn. I purchase wholesale (mostly from other small businesses across the USA). In the store, the tags are made with the outline of each state. It makes me feel real good knowing I am helping other small businesses. For example, I order from a woman on the coast of Maine, she is in a tourist town, that is very slow right now. My regular orders give her some business and I feel like we are supporting each other.

By opening popcorn stores in counties where there are not similar non-profits to the one I started, I am able to rent a spot large enough to divide rent in a way that allows the non-profit to open at a low cost, the popcorn store to open and have someone there to help many children in care in that county. So the sky is the limit!

Holly Hansen-Watson