HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas — POP! CornUtopia is not your average popcorn shop.
Owners of the gourmet shop, Troy and Amy Summerill, say they chose popcorn because popcorn chose them.
"Our first date actually was at the movie theater," Amy said. "He ordered popcorn, and he put butter on it and just kept going with the butter. I'm standing there going, I'm going to marry this man someday. I knew that we were going to be together forever because of the way he buttered his popcorn because no one buttered popcorn like me except him. I'd like to say that's kind of where our journey started."
The idea for the store started in their driveway in 2012.
"On Craigslist of all places, we found a kettle corn setup," Amy said. "We bought everything and came home and started cooking in our driveway. It was a disaster. We burned everything. We used too much sugar. Our heat was too high."
After realizing it was much more than throwing corn in the kettle, the Summerill's put the kettle corn setup in the trash. However, a year later, they decided to try again.
Harker Heights was the perfect place for the couple to start the business.
"Harker Heights is a community we're really proud to be part of," Troy said. "It's a small community, but it's also a large community at the same time."
Being a veteran-owned business helps when it comes to support from the community.
"I did a military sent back in the early 90's and enjoyed my time in the military," Troy said. "Once we got out, the hospitality industry was just calling for me."
POP! CornUtopia has a wide variety options with 25 to 28 different flavors. The pair blends real ingredients and spices to create flavors instead of using prepackaged flavors.
"Beer Cheese is one of my favorites, and then Blood Moon happens to be one of our new favorites," Troy said. "Sea salt caramel is our most popular flavor, but we also have the Windy City Mix also called the Chicago Mix. Our answer to that is the Texas 2 Step. Our Dirty Bird is a caramel popcorn that's infused with a sharp cheddar."
The inspiration for the flavors comes from both traveling and walking down the grocery store aisle.
"We'll find inspiration in everything around us," Amy said. "We'll go through the savory section, the crackers and the chip section, sometimes even in the fruit and vegetable section, and we just see if inspiration strikes. Sometimes a smell will kind of trigger something or just traveling."
They come out with new flavors in theme for each month of the year.
"Next month is February, so we're going to have a Valentine's theme pretty soon."
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They also own Sprinkles on Top Ice Cream Shop in Harker Heights.
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