think. shop. buy. local

South Huntsville, January 2017

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Featured Business

When did you start your business?
I started What’s Popp’N in July of 2011.

What were you hoping to accomplish at the beginning? What made you want to open the business? Did you see a niche that you felt needed to be filled with this business?
I used to live in Dallas, Texas and there was a candy store near our house that sold popcorn tins. I loved giving them as holiday gifts. We moved to Huntsville about three years later for my then-husband’s job. I looked for a store that sold the popcorn tins in town, and to my surprise there wasn’t one! I was forced to order my popcorn online. That’s when I realized how many flavors of popcorn there actually were! That’s when my dream was born. I wanted to show Huntsville what they were missing. I wrote a business plan and presented it to the bank. Unfortunately, they said no because food businesses were too high-risk at the time. My daughter Erica always encouraged me to keep trying. I decided to go back to school at the age of 48. I graduated with an associate’s degree in graphic design. I met Joe, my fiancé, in 2009. He persistently asked why I never opened my dream store. With his help, we bought the equipment and practiced in my garage. We tested out product with family and friends.

On July 9, 2011, I opened the door to my store. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, friends and God. I’m overjoyed to share my love of popcorn with you. Never give up because dreams do come true!

Who owns or manages the business along with you? Who is vital to the day-to-day operation?
My daughter Erica and husband Joe were there from the beginning. Graham has always played a vital role in our business. I am blessed to have all of them to support me.

Tell about your products/lines/services.
I would say that we are a food-gifting business. We offer gift tins, gift baskets and corporate gifts as well as products for events.

How has your business evolved over time?
We have grown as well as participated in more outdoor events, attempting to get the word out to the community that we are here.

What are your goals for the future?
Expanding our business with satellite locations. We are looking into many different opportunities.

1. Buy Local – Support yourself
Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locall yowned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms – continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.

2. Support Community Groups
Non-profit organizations receive on average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

3. Keep our Community Unique
Where we shop, where we eat and have fun – all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

4. Reduce Environmental Impact
Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.

5. Create more good jobs
Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.

6. Get Better Service
Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

7. Invest In Community
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

8. Put Your Taxes To Good Use
Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally- owned stores entering the community.

9. Buy What You Want, Not What Someone Wants You To Buy
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

10. Encourage Local Prosperity
A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

Market Place Magazine
P.O. Box 14219
Huntsville, AL 35815

To advertise call (256) 533-8078