There’s something about the Pike Place neighborhood. From the tourists at Pike Place Market, to the business men heading to work, to the shoppers at Westlake Center, we see every variety of person come through our store in a given day. This area is a hot spot for unique and iconic Seattle businesses like Seattle Coffee Works and Starbucks, Rocky Mountain Chocolates, or the Tea and Crumpet Shop. Everyone makes it down here sooner or later; and we see them all.
We opened for business on November 1, 2008 in a less than certain economic climate. Well that’s not entirely accurate. The economic climate was certainly... poor.
Not to worry! If we know one thing for sure, it’s that everyone loves popcorn! Armed with Caramel Corn fueled optimism, we opened our doors to the bustling crowds on 3rd & Pike St.
The first few years were a little rocky, there’s no two ways about it. But we stuck to our craft and employed the revered ancient art of trial and error. Some things stuck (Hawaiian Salted Caramel, Maple Bacon) and some things flopped. Over time, though, the lines got longer and the holiday seasons got crazier.
We’ve now been open for nearly 5 years (!!) In that time we’ve popped over 200,000 pounds of popcorn, and our one store operation has grown organically into six stores with more on the way. How the heck did that happen!?
Being the flagship store has given us plenty of time to develop our personality. Each staff member has lots of stories about the different personalities they’ve encountered and the surprising things they’ve learned.
With so many visitors coming through our doors from so many places--it can be quite the experience. We have met people from across the globe including Japan, Korea, Norway, England, South Africa, Egypt, Russia, Germany, and Brazil.
One of our employees, Heather, has a great story about her first cultural exchange with a customer:
“Did you know that s’mores is a uniquely American treat?” she asks. “I didn’t, until we had a customer from New Zealand who expressed confusion over the flavor. We reached the cultural gap when I got to graham crackers--something he’d never heard of. Turns out they’re more American than peanut butter! Eventually, we reached the conclusion that they were similar to biscuits, sampled the flavor--and he was hooked! Now, we make a special point of asking international travelers if they’re familiar with the flavor. Watching their faces light up at the explanation (and taste) is so much fun!”
James, our most senior cook, has worked with us for four years now and collects pins for his hat. Next time you come in, ask him about them--he’d love to show you! They come from loyal customers, both old and new, from local conferences and far away theme parks. Some have been lost through the years, but he continues to collect them and share the stories of their acquisition.
At the heart of it all? A genuine dedication to the craft of creating unique and delicious gourmet popcorn flavors. That flavor concept that no one has ever tried before? That’s the next one on our list...
What do you think of our downtown location? Where should we open next? Let us know in the comments!