Turning Corn Into Coin
Owners Tim and Kim Loyd said the story behind their new downtown “Mom and Popcorn Company” store on E. Louisiana Street started out as anything but sweet.
Kim said the idea for a popcorn store came after she was in a near-fatal car accident last year in Lewisville.
“I had to learn how to walk on a walker, the whole nine yards,” Kim said.
Tim, who worked at Park Place Motor Cars, and Kim a former employee, J.C. Penney’s telecommunications department, planned on opening a grilled cheese sandwich restaurant in McKinney before the accident. But during her long and difficult recovery, their friend Craig Johnson, the owner of a popcorn store in Richardson, convinced them to change their plans.
“My husband and Craig got to talking and Craig said we ought to open a popcorn store because McKinney doesn’t have anything like that,” Kim said.
It turned out to be not only the answer to their prayers but also the secret to their success.
The store has only been open for two weeks, but Kim said word of mouth alone has brought them at least 800 customers and a few regulars who stop in for their daily fix of flavored gourmet popcorn.
And it’s no surprise as to why so many people are popping in every day.
“My husband said if we’re going to open up, we don’t want to be like other places where the only thing they sell is caramel, cheese, and butter,” Kim said. “I want caramel cashew, caramel pecan, watermelon. I want people when they come in, they go, ‘Wow and they do what?’…because they’re not expecting all of these flavors.
Customers can order from 43 different flavors on their menu from “savory” flavors like barbecue, loaded potato, ranch verde or pizza popcorn to “candied” flavors like green apple, watermelon, banana and pina colada or all mixed together in a flavor called “cornfetti.” Customers with an iron tongue can even order spicier fare such as Cajun, hot cheese and jalapeno, and if they sound too good to be true, Kim and Tim are more than willing to give out free samples.
Tim said they all seem to be pretty popular, even though he likes the “Chicago style” popcorn, a layered cup of caramel and nacho cheese popcorn.
“Everything we’ve made has been a big seller,” Tim said.
Kim couldn’t say their most popular flavor either because they always have something to make every morning.
“We’ve only been open a week, but I will say, we’ve had to make popcorn every morning before we open up,” Kim said.
Every morning, Kim makes the fudge and Tim makes the popcorn. They use regular popcorn for their candy flavors because it can hold the mixing and the sugars better and butterfly popcorn fore everything else, Tim said.
Tim said he’s got some other ideas brewing for flavors. Kim said she wants to try banana split flavored popcorn, a cherry flavored kernel with a coating mix of vanilla, chocolate and banana. Tim said he wants to improve his patented jalapeno popcorn by adding real jalapenos to the kernels.
“We’ve been so overwhelmed,” Tim said. “Wee have a lot of ideas that we just can’t implement right now.”
Tim said they were already trying to keep up with orders for gifts and corporate events and they’ve even had a chance to sell their homeblended brands during the McKinney Performing Arts Center’s “Silent on the Square” silent film series. But all of those aside, business literally walks in off the street.
“We’re getting so much walk-in,” Tim said. “There’s so much traffic during the day, we can on walk-in.”
Kim said the store in a perfect location not just for business, but also for herself. She said since the accident, she hasn’t been able to drive a car and since they live in the historic district, she can just walk to work.
But she also said being in downtown McKinney gives the business its own charm.
“There’s no other place I’d rather be than downtown McKinney,” Kim said. “The people are friendly…I think downtown is the place to be. I think it’s like being at West End or the Stockyards in Fort Worth. We’re unusual. You cannot go into another small town and find this.”