Move over butter and salt.
With such flavors as Oreo Crush, POPpermint Bark, YummChata Oatmeal Cookie, Pretzel Chip Kat Crunch, Buffalo Wing with Bleu Cheese Dressing and Birthday Bash, this is not your parents’ popcorn.
All these flavors, and many others, are now available at Chippy’s Popcorn Creations, which opened several months ago in a former laundromat at 507 Madison St.
The enterprise is the brain child of Scott and Linda Chipman.
“About 13 or 14 years ago my sister in Kentucky introduced us to a friend of hers who was operating a kettle corn business,” Linda said. “The idea was kind of weird — popcorn with sugar on it — and we never really gave it a thought. But they sent us home with a 2- or 3-foot sack of popcorn and we ate the whole sack on the drive back to North Carolina. We just couldn’t stop eating it.”
She continued, “About a year later we found ourselves sort of maxed out on our careers. Scott was out of work and I was tired of doing what I was doing, so we started our business there. We came to Wisconsin that first summer because we have family here – in Princeton and Wautoma. We then moved to Illinois, and then to Beaver Dam because my sister owns a building here. We like Beaver Dam. It’s close to our family and close to all the major cities. It has worked out really well for us.”
The business is a major investment, with mobile units at farmers markets and festivals across much of the state and into Illinois. Local venues include markets in Monona and Watertown, along with festivals in Green Lake and the Father’s Day car show in Beaver Dam.
“We’ve grown over the last 11 years, and we’ve put a lot back into the business,” Linda said. “We started with a little Ford Ranger and now we have three trailers and three trucks.”
More recently Scott has taken on the mobile operation while Linda is focused on operating the store. The building was purchased two and a half years ago.
“We originally bought it to house our mobile business,” Linda said. “But we’ve always had customers asking where else they could buy our products, so this was the next logical step. As it went forward it got to be a little bit more ambitious, and you see those results here today.
The area has received the business well, and the shop now offers Chippy’s Cider Grogg, freshly-squeezed lemonade, Blumer’s soda, Kelley’s Country Creamery ice cream and freshly roasted Black Waters Coffee, old fashioned candies and scores of custom created popcorn flavors.
A grand opening for the shop was held the second weekend in October.
“It was just non-stop people for two-and-a-half days,” Linda recalled. “It was just wonderful. In fact, our sales have at least doubled each day since the grand opening.
“We have had a ton of traffic and there are still a lot of people who don’t know we’re here.”
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People say, ‘We love that this little shop is here. It’s cute. It’s fun.’ The key to that is the offerings. We’re not just doing popcorn. We’ve got ice cream. We’ve got the coffee. We’ve got free wifi. There’s also nothing on this side of town that serves families. We feel its part of our duties to make this a nice place for families. This side of town is often forgotten, and there’s so much potential here. Madison’s so easy to get to, now that the (151) interchange is there.”
Linda admits that she often awakens with an idea for a popcorn flavor on her mind.
“That how we got the idea for s’more popcorn,” she said.
There are plenty of other things to think of as well.
“We’re a small business so we’re the whole marketing department, the book keeping department, the vendor sourcing department. There are so many things we have to do.
“Mondays are technically our days off, but there’s always something business-related for us to do. It really is a 24-7 job.”
Both Linda and Scott have culinary degrees, which serve them well in their current jobs.
“You can’t just coat something and expect it to be good,” Linda said. “You have to create flavor from the kernel and work out from that if you’re going to get something worthwhile. Most of the flavors are jut in my head. Once I see an ingredient I start figuring out how it will go with something else or what it eventually will become. People are amazed by some of things we have offered.”
For those with health concerns, Linda has some reassuring words.
“Popcorn is a whole grain food,” she said. “It’s very high in antioxidants. As far as the other ingredients, it all depends on how much you eat. All things in moderation is always good advice to follow.”
Chippy’s Popcorn Creations has extended holiday hours to include Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information call 920.885.CORN (2676) visit, www.chippyspopcorncreations.com or friend them on Facebook to get the latest on new gourmet flavors, specials and gift ideas.