A Frisco Favorite: POParella’s for Popcorn, Treats, and Nostalgic Snacks
A Frisco Favorite: POParella’s for Popcorn, Treats, and Nostalgic Snacks
Whether it’s movie time in the media room, a creative gift for someone you know, or a trip down memory lane, POParella’s is THE place to go in Frisco. With dozens of creative flavors like Dr Pepper, Mango Margarita, and Dill Pickle, your taste buds are in for a treat they never knew was possible!
Pay them a visit in Frisco Square and indulge your inner child.
SHOW NOTES:[00:32] New owners of POParella’s
[02:07] Where did the name POParella’s come from?
[02:45] Get to know the popcorn (including the “Frisco Blend”) and treats
[07:00] Seasonal flavors
[08:08] Gifting ideas from POParella’s
[10:30] Celebrating the events in Frisco Square (and when to get free samples)
[14:03] How to get free popcorn
LINKS & RESOURCES:
- POParella’s Website
- POParella’s on Lifestyle Frisco
- POParella’s on Instagram
- POParella’s on Facebook
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on:
Welcome to the Frisco podcast. I’m your host, Nicole Barron editor in chief of lifestyle Frisco. And today I have the privilege of sitting with the owners of POParella’s Gourmet Popcorn and Treats in Frisco Square. I’m a name and a business you’ve known for a long time. There may be some new things that we get to share with you that you weren’t familiar with about POParella’s. So I’m going to go ahead and let our guests introduce themselves.
Hi, I’m Gina Johnson. I am the cone co owner of POParella’s Gourmet Popcorn and Treats and I’m Robert Johnson also Kona gourmet pepper rolls going my popcorn and treats.
Fantastic. I’m so happy you’re both here because what a fun business to get to talk about. So we all know Frisco square as I sort of walkable, you know, area. Lots of events happen on down there all year long, which I want to talk about how that impacts you and what that’s like for you all. Um, when did you purchase POParella’s? Because although it’s been around a long time and you can tell me exactly how long, when did you enter the scene?
So we entered the scene back in July of 2018 so it’s been a little over what, 16 months or so. Wow. Okay. How long has POParella’s has actually been there before you took over? We just had a birthday. You did? 11 years. 11 years? Yep. Yep. 11 years. So what has this last year and a half nearly been like for you? I bet learning so much. Um, I had a little bit of background around popcorn because I, uh, kinda did it out of my house. I had a cottage food store out of my house and sold it by word of mouth and that’s how Gary, the previous owner found me. So I didn’t go in totally blind, but there was so much to learn. Um, different types of seed. I only used one kind of seed. We use two different kinds of seed in the store. Um, flavoring machines, uh, cash register personnel, HR, your everything. When you step into that role.
Wow. What a great opportunity though. I can’t imagine what that’s been like for you. So do you happen to know, this is like a way background question, where does the name proper Relas come from?
So Gary, um, initially opened the store with a name called love, peace, popcorn, but he found out pretty quickly that he had to change the name because that name was already taken by the trademark association. So, um, he had to come up with the name quickly to name the store. And his last name’s pepper Ella. So they took the a between the P a P and put an O there. And so it’s pop. So it’s a name after his last name. That’s a fun bit of history. Yeah, it is. It is. Yeah. So
interesting. All right, so tell us about the popcorn. We need to know, I mean, this is not just your basic popcorn. This is super fun
and where, and so tasty. Um, he, he has these recipes down to the T. um, so when we bought the store, we bought the name, but we also bought the recipes. Nothing’s changed. The name hasn’t changed in the recipes, haven’t changed, which in my opinion are the two most important things in the store. Um, the recipes, uh, he, over the 10 years that he owned the store, uh, he refined them to where they are just perfect. Uh, majority of the people that come in and like them 99.9% of the people that come in, like the flavors say they are true to the flavor that they’re, they’ve asked for. So, um, now we’re up to a little over 60 flavors. 60, 60 flavors. Yup. Four different categories. Um, savory kettles, caramels, Candide and specialties. So what’s the, and Robert, maybe you have an opinion about this. What’s the like craziest, I mean that’s, you know, a relative term, but what’s the craziest flavor? Like something people just would not think of or believe could be done?
I heard there’s one called a Frisco blend. What’s that first go blend is a cheese and caramel mix. Probably like dr pepper maybe or a dill pickle. Oh my gosh. Those must surprise me a lot. Dr pepper. That’s big around here. It is huge. How cool is that? Yeah. And we compliment it with dr pepper, cotton candy and dr pepper gummies. And occasionally I’ll make some dr pepper fudge to go with it. Oh my gosh. So we specialize in a basket that has all dr pepper flavored items in it that can be purchased on our website. We need to partner with dr pepper ballpark if you haven’t yet. Oh, we have a little bit of work. You’d be surprised at all of it here that okay. Awesome. So, and then you mentioned the Frisco blend. Any other, Oh wait, let me back up. So, gourmet popcorn and treats.
What don’t, you just mentioned a couple of the dr pepper themed gummies and whatnot. What other treats do you have? Yup. So we make our fudge in house. Um, we offer four to five, sometimes four to six flavors of fudge. Uh, we also make our candy nuts and house almond, cashew, peanut and pecan. Uh, those are the ones that are cinnamon and sugar, roasted peanuts or nuts. Uh, we also have cake bites. We have a company called cake bites LLC, come in and, uh, keep our display full of cake bites. We also make chocolates. We have one whole wall that has nostalgic candy in it. Um, I think I’ve got everything. Oh. And we have a new machine in the store, a little cotton candy machine, and we’ve been playing around with it. We can actually make different flavors of co different flavors of cotton candy, um, based off of the flavors of our popcorn. So if we decide that we want to feature mango margarita as a seasonal flavor, we can make mango margarita cotton candy now or pina colada. We can even make red hot cinnamon, which we, we tested the other day. So, uh, the cotton candy machine is available for rent. Uh, I can take it places. [inaudible] excuse me. [inaudible] excuse me. I can take it places along with penny popper, which is our portable popper that we pull behind our car.
So do you go to events then? We do. We do. Wow.
Gone to, um, HOA events, uh, saw copy events for schools, um, churches, uh, soon we’ll be going to the Ford aquatic center. I believe so, yeah. We pull the popper around and the cotton candy machine will now follow.
That is so fun. Yeah. Well, so in Frisco square though, all year long bears, you know what comes to mind for me, arts in the square music and the square clear the Christmas in the square is huge. Um, so a lot of people probably walk in off the street for that reason. And I can attest it is like a little bit of nostalgia when you walk in there. You see, you mentioned the nostalgic candies, you know, and things are treats, but it does feel that way. I mean, not often can you find a adorable candy store these days to just pop in and get your fudge? My husband loves fudge. I’m gonna have to tell him. Um, so I want to talk more about those flavors. You just mentioned a mango margarita and that really peaked my interest. Um, do you have seasonal flavors? We do. We have
seasonal flavors year-round. Um, we try to, uh, have at least two different flavors, uh, for that month. So for December, it’s our biggest year of the month. Sorry. It’s the biggest month of the year. And for December we have four different seasonal flavors. Um, I’m going to go ahead and mention them because they are so, so popular. Peppermint snowflake, which is a white chocolate base with crushed peppermint on it. Oh my gingerbread cookie. Um, let’s see. Gingerbread cookie, Apple pie. That one’s new this year. Very, very popular. And then rum and eggnog.
Oh my gosh. That’s awesome. That’s such a fun idea right there. Yep.
And they’re very, very popular. All four flavors are so popular. We’ll continue to carry them every December. Um, and then starting in January we’ll start with some other flavors. But yeah, mango margarita typically rolls out in the summer.
Yeah, I guess so. That’s so fun. So those make fantastic gifts, which I know is a huge part of what you offer as well. Like I’ve seen, you can see the pictures on your beautiful website and of course if you pop in all the beautiful wrappings and packaging, tell us about that.
So I, I think it’s really cool the way we’re set up because you can totally customize your basket or your box the way you want it. Um, for corporations, they can bring in their own literature or marketing material and we can actually include it inside the basket before we shrink wrap it and put a pretty bow bow on it. So, um, we have total customization of baskets because you, uh, purchase all a cart, so you’ll purchase your basket and then you’ll go and purchase one of the 60 flavors of popcorn to put in the basket or two or three different flavors. So it’s total customization, which is what I love about how we’re set up now. Um, and you can also do the same thing on our website, but it’s nice to go into the store, talk with us or consult with us because we can help you, um, put that basket together and tell you how it would look if you carried three different sizes of flavors inside that box or, or basket. Yeah, absolutely. And you can ship these, is that correct? Absolutely. We ship nationwide. We can even ship worldwide. We’ve done that one time. And so, um, that can get a little costly because you are going on the other side of the world. But we do ship nationwide. Um, when we ship nationwide, we ship via U S P S. uh, we’ll continue to use them for quite some time because they are very reasonable and it gets our popcorn there within two to three days. So our popcorn is nice and fresh. When, uh, the, uh, recipient receives it,
it’d be so fun to send someone in another state, the Frisco blend, you know, I mean, just like a little nod to, you know, where they’re from maybe or you send it to your child in college that, you know, there’s, I can just imagine a lot of fun things you could do to gift family members and friends and corporate gifts across the country.
Right, right. And, and we have that happen a lot along with our tens, which are probably just as popular as our gift baskets. Forgot about the 10. Yeah, there’s a bunch. So we have sports. Um, we have, uh, professional collegic, uh, theme, um, holiday. We have all kinds of tens, but I would say that the most popular ones up until December are the sports. The, the collegic tends seem to be the most popular because parents want to ship, you know, uh, Texas tech 10 to their daughter or their son. So very, very popular.
Oh, that’s cool. Okay. So I want to go back to all the events in Frisco square. How does that affect you all? I mean, do you just get crazy busy on some of these Christmas in the square evenings and arts in the square and whatever else may be going on line out the door? Yeah, and I think part of it is because, um, we offer samples, we offer free samples of our wide and free samples on our fudge. Hey everybody, for example, I’ll encourage it.
We want people to know what they’re buying. So we encourage people to try it and because we know once they try it, they’ll fall in love with, you know, the flavor that they’re asking for. Um, so yeah, yeah. Might take some time to, to be with each customer. So we’ll just ramp up on staff and uh, we’ll have everyone out there helping customers.
Oh my gosh, that’s fine. I remember, I’m like, gosh, it wasn’t last year. Uh, my family and I walking along for Christmas in the square and I remember standing right in front of your shop. We had the snow flurries coming down, those artificial but awesome snow flurries that they do sometimes down there. And it was just such a beautiful spot, you know, and you just fit so well in that adorable square. You really are just perfect right there. We love it. We love it. Yup. Good. Well, I can’t imagine as you indicated at the top of this conversation what the ride has been like for you the last 16 months. Did you say it was or almost 16 months. Yep. So do you anticipate that things calming down anytime soon or it’s just always going to, I mean, business owners, I’ve met so many of you in Frisco, it’s just always going to be hard work, isn’t it? It is. It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding. So I’m working for yourself. We’ve been in the corporate world our whole life and so, uh, it’s rewarding knowing that we’re working for ourselves. Yeah. Well, Robert, I should have asked you this earlier. What is your background and how do you contribute to POParella’s? I know you play a big role.
Uh, I spent about 35 years as a software engineer. And so, I mean, this is a totally different,
but I did most of the back office things, accounts receivable and payable and payroll and
the hard stuff. That’s not the fun stuff, but like has to be done.
But it is interesting. I mean, I’ve learned a lot by doing it, so it’s been a good experience. Yeah,
it’s crucial. It’s crap at you. You’re really grateful for him. Absolutely. So you get to play with flavors in the cotton candy machine and he’s back there in the books. Exactly. Yeah. But you probably have the right mind for that. You mentioned software engineer. Um, so that’s probably just a really good fit and a fantastic way for you to support this business. Do you eat a lot of popcorn, Robert? What’s your favorite flavor?
Uh, rotates a lot. I like, I like the dill pickle. I liked the movie time and um, [inaudible] several other flavors are really like a movie. Time is like a, uh, just a regular pop one with just some buttery topping on it. Uh, and uh, but
not your average. This has gotta be like a jillion times better than what I would get at the movie theater. It’s a bestseller in the store, is it? Yeah. What’s your favorite flavor? Uh, difficult. Yeah. That’s really fascinating. I’ll have to try that one day. It’s a unique idea all over coming for it. People from Carrollton will drive and they’ll tell me, I’m coming just for your deal. Popcorn. Really it’s the third bestseller out of our savory category, but our fourth overall. Oh my gosh. How fun. Yeah. Well everybody needs to get down there and have a free sample and then buy either a package for someone else or just have some popcorn with your family. I mean, how fun is that? I go out and enjoy the square or whatever’s happening at that time. Yup, yup. And we have a loyalty program, so the more you buy, the more points you earn towards free popcorn.
So you can do, you can get free popcorn in addition to our coupons that we roll out in between. Oh good. Perfect. Everybody loves a loyalty program and appreciates it, you know, because it, you’re recognizing their them as patrons. And that you value that. So there, I think it means a lot to people. Absolutely. For that. Thank you for that. Yep. Well, okay, so let’s run down where you are online. Where can people find you? Uh, www dot [inaudible] dot com it’s POParellas.com. Gotcha. And you’re on social media? We are. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, everywhere. Yep. Okay, good. Good for you. Well, it also, you’ve invested in a business page on our website, firstname.lastname@example.org and our business section, we have, I believe it’s under shopping and services category. We have all kinds of fun stuff about you there so people can get a one stop shop and a feature article we wrote about you. So more to come on our site about you all. We really have value you as clients. It’s really fun to talk about popcorn and treats. I mean, good grief. That’s so fun. Thank you. Thank you for having us. Yes, I appreciate your time. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you.