Sweet Poppin’s Gourmet Popcorn
Tashia Johnson-St. Clair’s business Sweet Poppin’s, began in 2003 with a dream sent from God showing her the start-to-finish popcorn flavor business, and it has grown over the past six years to over thirty gourmet flavors.
Tashia’s kitchen is located in Cassville, Indiana, and business is going so well, she recently expanded and has plans to open a retail area next. She has retooled her website to start a mail order business with her most popular flavors, Lemon Pound Cake, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Pralines and Cream, and Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake. Tashia strongly believes in helping others and she is expanding her fund-raising efforts with the Kokomo High School’s band and cheerleaders participating this fall.
Tashia first contacted the Hoosier Heartland Small Business Development Center in June of 2008. She was considering taking the buyout from Delphi in Kokomo, and she needed information on what kind of funding was available in Indiana for a retired Veteran and single mother. Tashia attended several of the no cost seminars offered by the SBDC, which covered how to write a business plan, steps to trade mark a product, and information on sales and marketing. Additionally, she had one-on-one counseling sessions with the SBDC advisor, Monty Henderson. Monty generated several reports to assist Tashia with marketing Sweet Poppin’s in Indiana.
Tashia and her popcorn had great exposure at the Indiana Black Expo held in Indianapolis this past July. Her friend, Erika Boyd, took a vacation day from work to assist Tashia during the three-day event. They sold out of four of the six flavors Tashia had with her and gained business advice from legendary NBA Hall-of-Famer, Magic Johnson. Additionally, she was interviewed by Warren Ballentine on his Radio One nationally syndicated ‘The Warren Ballentine Show’, and most importantly, she made contacts with several people who want to distribute her popcorn nationally.
As a result of the interview on the Warren Ballentine Show, Kim M. Davis in Chicago, an editor for the E-magazine, ‘Era of Change, Family Notes E-Newsbyte’, contacted Tashia for an interview. Once again, Sweet Poppin’s was a hit! Kim didn’t make it out of the parking lot after picking up a package of Sweet Poppin’s samples before she was diving in for her first taste. With publicity generated by the article Ms. Davis wrote about Sweet Poppin’s, Tashia has now expanded her business internationally.
Tashia says she realizes, “I am truly blessed. All that has happened has been just amazing. I don’t know anyone who would give up a vacation day or their whole weekend to work in my booth, but that shows they believe in me and what I am doing. That’s awesome. I couldn’t do any of this by myself. So many people have helped me and they believe in the product. God has been good to me and I want to use this business to be a blessing to others.”
Tashia’s Sweet Poppin’s are available in three sizes: 1.5 ounces for $1.25, 4 ounces for $3.00 and ½ pound for $6.00.