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!

Mt. Pleasant, MI
Holly Hansen-Watson