Gourmet popcorn shop opens in downtown Flossmoor

  Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun presides over a 
  ribbon cutting marking the opening of POP N' BY,  
  a new gourmet popcorn shop in Flossmoor.
(Photos 
  by Carrie Steinweg/H-F Chronicle)
 

Americans consume more than 14 billion quarts of popcorn each year.

If you are one of them, you may be pleased to know that a gourmet popcorn shop has opened in downtown Flossmoor.

  Popcorn samples available for 
  patrons at the POP N' BY's 
  opening celebration.

 

POP N’ BY held a soft opening Feb. 18, followed by a ribbon cutting and grand opening a week later. Co-owners Yolanda Bernard-Clark and Bruce Clark will be offering a dozen different flavors of the popular snack.

“We did some research trying to find a business that would have a good return and was popular,” said Bernard-Clark. “It’s the number one snack in America. It’s fun and there’s no limit. If we want to become mobile, we can grow the business that way if we want to.”

According to the Popcorn Board, based in Chicago, sales of popcorn each year total nearly 1.18 billion pounds and, on average, each person annually consumes 43 quarts. With numbers like that in mind, Bernard-Clark looked to popcorn when she and her husband thought about starting a business.

They first tested out flavors and supplied them to friends and family before moving into a former coffee shop in the Calumet Metra station in East Hazel Crest. Business was going well until construction at the station that closed the entrance to the platform, and access to their store.

“That happened and pretty much killed our business,” said Bernard-Clark. The store closed in October, but when she noticed an empty storefront in downtown Flossmoor near the train station, it seemed like a perfect new home for the popcorn shop.

"The response has been wonderful. We’ve had a great response from not just the Flossmoor community, but Homewood as well,” said Bernard-Clark. “Some of our customers from the train station have followed us here. We have a Facebook page and they’ve followed our updates.”

Bernard-Clark said that Facebook has been a great tool for spreading the word about the new business through different local groups that she has shared posts in.

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun attended POP N’ BY’s ribbon cutting where he talked about the history of popcorn, from ancient times to the current days of it being adopted as the must-have movie snack.

“We are very excited to have a gourmet popcorn shop in our community, especially a family-owned business,” Braun said.

Bernard-Clark’s nephew, London Bernard, was one of those in attendance to support his family as the new business opened. He purchased a bag of buffalo wings-flavored popcorn to take with him, passing up a Garrett’s Popcorn shop on the way from his home in Chicago. “They have a lot of different flavors here and I always like to try something new,” he said.

Along with the unique flavors that will be offered in the store, the owners plan to add slushies when the weather warms. They’ll also offer customized favors for parties, weddings and baby showers and plan to participate as vendors at some outdoor summer events. Fundraising products are also in the works and they hope to work with local schools and churches.

The biggest seller by far is the traditional combination of chesse and caramel corn, which they call the “HF Mix,” but Bernard-Clark said she has been surprised at how popular the lemon pound cake flavor has been. 

POP N’BY is located at 2550 Central Drive. A website is being developed. Once it launches, the store will offer shipping of its products.

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