With Charlie Pop!®
Charlie Pop!® starts with Amish hull-less popcorn kernels, canola oil and sea salt. After popping these tender kernels, we create a variety of fan favorites from Original Homestyle to our decadent seasonal offerings such as Caramel Pumpkin Spice.
CHARLIE POP!® GOURMET POPCORN
How do I make a long story short?
I love homemade popcorn. Charlie popped me some after I'd had surgery because microwave pop was NOT gonna do the job. He popped me a fresh batch on the stove-top and we never turned back. When I was in the mood for more, I'd pout up and he'd say, "..pop your own..." and I'd come back with, "...but it's not Charlie-Pop!"
Yes, that is how to make a long story short, but, is it as interesting as the long version? Nope. Not at all. So, for those who do like a story, here it is....
Yes, I'd had surgery and faced quite a lengthy recovery period. Food was bleh, but, we knew I needed to eat. I craved popcorn...but not just any popcorn. I wanted it home popped, just like when I was a little girl & my mom would do it. We hadn't made homemade popcorn in years so Charlie pulled out my wok--the perfect popcorn making pan, and commenced to making me popcorn. It was the best popcorn ever...truly it was, I wouldn't tell a lie. After years of microwave or movie popcorn, I had forgotten how good 'real' popcorn tasted. The hot, salty flavor sang to my taste buds and there truly was no turning back.
After recovery and going back to work, Charlie continued to pop popcorn for me--I usually had to coax him with a pout. He'd tell me to pop my own to which I'd bat my eyes, pout out my lips and tell him that I wanted "Charlie Pop". It became somewhat of a game. We have 4 sons who'd often tell him, "..dad, look at her..." to which he'd emphatically reply, "...no! No, I'm not gonna look at her 'cause I'm not gonna pop any popcorn..". But, he'd cave in with their prodding him along. He even tried to tell us how to pop it "just like me" but since he eyeballed all the measurements, no one could seem to make it 'just right'. He was cursed with the task every time. We really had fun with the whole process of begging.
He'd often pop me up a plastic, shoe-box type container to carry to work. Before long, people at work, family, friends & the boys' friends were wanting their own containers of "Charlie Pop". Some wanted less salt, some wanted no salt, some wanted even more salt, everyone had their favorite. So periodically, we'd pop it all up and off I'd go with my little containers to deliver. Friends who would show up for dinner and a movie were equally excited to feast on Charlie Pop. The boys' friends would pop in and beg Charlie to pop them some popcorn to go & he would oblige them, all of them. Everyone was happy, well, except maybe Charlie.
Then the holidays rolled around and we started popping corn for gifts. We popped for family and friends..you know, the whole gamut...even the girls at the beauty shop where I went regularly. I created cute "Charlie Pop" labels on my computer, we'd fill a plastic-lined, paper sandwich bag, staple it shut and waa-laa! A nice little homemade gift ready for giving. Charlie Pop was always a hit. The girls who fixed my hair would kindly, if not somewhat reluctantly, share a bite or two with their other clients. Then came the calls. "Charlie, you don't know me but I'm at the beauty shop and well, I was craving some Charlie Pop...", he'd stop what he was doing and pop some corn and carry it to them. Good thing we lived nearby! The girls at the beauty shop would tell him if he'd bag it they'd sell it. He'd just laugh and say, "..no one's gonna buy popcorn.." and off he'd go.
At one point, I'd been laid off so I told Charlie I was going to sell popcorn. He just laughed and repeated the whole, "..no one's gonna buy popcorn..", but I knew better. I just had to get those measurements down to the exact quantity. If I could do so, then I knew I could replicate it time and time again. I called in my son, Seth, to help. Well, after 6 batches of carefully measuring every little ingredient, with Cory and Zachary having their bellies full from being willing taste-testers, we had it! A EUREKA moment, for sure! We had achieved our goal. Even Charlie agreed, as he laughed and said, "..no one's gonna buy popcorn."
Not one to be deterred, I thought, well, maybe they wouldn't buy just popcorn but just maybe they would buy my fudge, truffles and other candies. I decided to test my theory. I baked, dipped, rolled and popped all my goodies while carefully packaging them to get ready for the events. I set up displays at every show I could get into through the holiday season that year. Success! One holiday season down and I could see the potential for the next one.
Later, the following year, I rented a small booth at a consignment mall with my mom and a friend to sell odds 'n ends. Through the holidays and special occasions, I'd add bags of popcorn, fudge, truffles and other candies. Much to my amusement, it sold. All of it sold. I'd pass out samples and you'd see these faces just melt with delight. It was an incredible feeling to see their faces change expressions and their body language take on an entirely different stance. I had calls coming in to make gifts with my treats. It was a great way to supplement my 'habit' as I played with my recipes for everything to develop new flavors.
Later, after my dad passed away, I was working a part time job and we decided to move back to the farm. I closed the booth but kept a small display case and decided to just do popcorn for a while 'just to see' if it would carry itself during the rest of the year and not just through the holidays. I only had a few flavors in the beginning: Original Homestyle, White Chocolate, a peanut butter & sometimes caramel. I'd toy with other flavors at random and test them out on friends and family. I sold enough to keep the booth open at least, which made Charlie happy.
Fast forward a couple years. All my sons have left the nest. I still have my job which had turned to full-time. I still have my display of popcorn in the local consignment mall and I still live on the farm. I'm now a mother-in-law and even a Two-nene. Life is good. The farm is an hour away from my work place and the booth. I've grown tired of the drive, as well as the pressure that comes from managing all the day-to-day operations for 2 rather large businesses based in one office. I reached my low-point one January morning when I called Charlie to tell him I'd had it. I was stressed past what I'd ever experienced before, I missed my daddy, I missed my babies & I wanted to do "my own thing" again. I told him I had decided to expand the popcorn like I'd never done before. This meant I would still maintain my current job while also expanding into other flavors, both savory and sweet. Poor thing, he had no clue what that truly meant. He said okay if that's what I wanted to do, but seriously, "..no one is gonna buy popcorn...", he'd be supportive and help too.
I spent the following year playing with my recipes. I went totally crazy with ideas & he'd have to reign me in so I wouldn't get too deep too fast. I know the poor man had to think I'd gone totally off the deep end, but I was adamant about this passion. I was constantly trying new flavors, developing my labels and packaging. I had to search out sources for the products I wanted to use & I had to create a fantastic network of trusted advisers to help with my many questions on business. At one point, Charlie looked at me and said, "..well, if we can make a thousand dollars, why can't we make a million?", at which point, I said, "...well, we can try!"
For now, I think I'll leave the story at that with plans to continue. Maybe you've enjoyed the long version and can't wait to hear the 'rest of the story' as they say. There's more from his perspective that I just didn't figure out where to place just yet. It'll have to be interspersed within mine at a later date as I do need to get his input on where it fits. Trust me, there's never a dull moment.
Anita & Charlie
"EVERYONE LOVES POPCORN and CHARLIE POP!® IS NOT JUST POPCORN."
OUR POPCORN IS UNIQUE
Amish popcorn is our main ingredient. For us, it’s the key. Known to be ‘hulless’, this popcorn has a smaller, more tender kernel that we find holds up to our flavors. Remember, there really is no such thing as ‘hulless’ popcorn: popcorn must have a hull to pop. With our Amish Popcorn, however, the hulls are smaller & thinner resulting in a 'hulless' end product. But again, no popcorn is totally without a hull.
Charlie Pop!® is popped in small batches, one flavor at a time. Each flavor is specially blended & packaged to ensure the best possible freshness. When possible, we source locally for nuts, fruits, molasses, and other fresh ingredients to create new and exciting flavors for you to enjoy. Contact us today for your unique Charlie Pop!® experience.