TONS OF POPCORN

popcorn

By Tumbleweed Smith

“Most people like popcorn,” says Donna McInnis. “It’s unusual to come across someone who doesn’t like popcorn.”

Donna and her husband Steve have a popcorn store in Hico, Texas.

“My store is Hico Popcorn Works,” says Donna, who previously was a medical social worker. “We actually took our name from a turn of the century business here called Hico Candy and Bottling Works.”

When I was there, Donna had just received a big order.

“We have a website so we get orders from all over. This man, who just placed an order with us, is in Connecticut and said somebody recommended us to him. He is shipping 200 of my super bags to Oslo, Norway. Those bags hold forty cups of popcorn and are eighteen to twenty inches tall, ten inches wide.”

It’s a huge business. Six people work there.

“We had no idea when we started how much there was to this. We actually came to Hico because I wanted an old house to play with. We bought a 100-year-old house that I love but the more I was in Hico the more I wanted to live here.”

Donna had a nurse friend who said she would like to have a popcorn store. That gave Donna the idea to start one.

“Originally, when we started, I just thought we’d have a nice little store in this cute little town but we’ve become popcorn moguls and our business has grown and grown during the twelve years we’ve had it. We start from the corn. We don’t grow it but we buy it in fifty pound bags. We buy like twenty 50-pound bags at a time. We pop two days a week.”

The number one savory flavor is dill pickle.

“It’s actually just flavored with dill. There’s nothing pickley about it, we just called it dill pickle because it’s more fun. Our signature popcorn is caramel corn. Our customers say it’s the best they’ve ever had. Many of our customers just want plain old movie popcorn. We sell a lot of that. We also have a large selection of fudge.”

The store has twenty flavors of popcorn. Then there are the specialty items.

“We do a lot of corporate gifts, especially around any holiday. We do weddings, baby showers and special colorings. We’ve had brides bring us a swatch of their bridesmaids’ dress colors and we can match those colors in popcorn. One wanted dusty mauve. When they had Parents Day at Tarleton, the University bought 2,750 of my little dollar bags. I had somebody ask me the other day for garlic Parmesan mixed with dill pickle and they wanted it mixed in the same bag.”

Most of their customers are walk-ins, many tourists among them.