Meet Chris and Mindy, the owners of Popcorn Paradise (interview answered by Chris.)
How did Popcorn Paradise get its start?
On a trip to Dallas, TX, we discovered a little popcorn store that had been in business for 30 years. I stayed and talked to the owner for a long time. I always wanted to do something with popcorn and I knew that there was a market for events, weddings, and popcorn junkies in general. My vision was to offer a wide variety of colors and flavors to make any occasion special. You could not find good caramel corn or any other flavored corn except kettle corn, which you can get at any festival. We took a leap of faith and bought all of the equipment needed and set it up in the garage. We started doing free events and orders to test our recipes and gain feedback. This is how our Bourbon Caramel popcorn was created. I wanted to have a high quality gourmet popcorn flavor while tying it to Kentucky so you could not get it anywhere else in the country. We enjoy creating new flavors in the kitchen whenever we have a chance.
Is Popcorn Paradise a hobby or a full-time gig for you guys?
After we developed the concept and bought the equipment, and the original business plan was written for a mobile trailer to set up at events and festivals to sell our gourmet popcorn. We were going to keep our full-time jobs and schedule weekends. I quickly learned that I could not create all of the flavors within the space of a 10×10 trailer. I asked my parents if they would tend to a store front until we could get the business off the ground. We opened on Nov 15, 2014. After the holiday season of 2014, we knew that I would need to be in the store for the next holiday season or we would not be able to survive. I left my full-time job in July of 2015 to be in the store full-time and we have not looked back.
What’s your short-term plan Popcorn Paradise?
We want to keep developing the Lexington market. We have been open for over a year-and-a-half and I would say only 10% of the Lexington population knows that we exist. From there, I would like branch out into other cities with our concept.
What’s your favorite thing about Lexington?
The people of Lexington and Central Kentucky are kind, humble, friendly, and laid-back. I like that you can have a conversation with someone you don’t know. That cannot be said for a lot of places in the United States. They also shop and support local business as long as you offer a good product at a fair price.
Where are you originally from? I’m originally Danville (and Lexington) and Mindy is from Paris. We now live in Georgetown.
Tell us about your family:
My wife, Mindy, who you’ve probably met at the Market 301 with me (and other events we do), we have one daughter, Bailey (17 years old and getting ready to go off to college!), 3 cats, and we currently live in Georgetown. Our parents, David and Dorsey, are faces you’ll see with Popcorn Paradise as they help out in the store and at markets + events when we cannot be there.
Popcorn Paradises Lexington Favorites:
Restaurant? Local Taco
Bar? Ethereal & Blue Stallion
Late night grub? Tolly Ho
Sweet or Treats spot? Sav’s Chill (when we don’t want popcorn!)
Lunch spot? Double H BBQ and Sawyer’s
Outdoor/recreation spot? Running on the Legacy Trail
Visit Popcorn Paradise’s website, go like them on Facebook, give them a follow on Instagram and be sure to stop by their booth to take home your favorite bag of Popcorn this Friday night at Market 301 (899 Manchester Street from 6-10 PM).