It’s a Sunday, my family and I just had Sunday lunch with my Grandpa Postma and now it's time to have adventures with Grandpa. This was a Sunday tradition in the Avila household. Grandpa Postma would take me and my two sisters every Sunday. We would do three things: Go to a toy store, go to a blockbuster and rent a movie, and finally get to Grandpa's house and make milkshakes with popcorn. Lina, my middle sister, was responsible for making the milkshakes. We liked our milkshakes “chunky” not all the way blended so we would have large chunks of ice cream while drinking, delicious. And of course, a couple bags of Act Ⅱ microwavable popcorn. This is my earliest memory of popcorn. Little did I know popcorn would be a launching point to start my own business.
I get this question a lot “do you just love popcorn?” and the answer is yes, but I wouldn't say I am, “popcorn is a meal kind of person”. Popcorn is a fantastic snack and for some, like myself, there are great memories associated with popcorn. Many of these memories are surrounded by family or with people you love. I had a customer come in and say their Sunday family tradition was popcorn and beer, what a great tradition. Another fun story is about my father. When he was a kid, everyday after school he would buy a bag of popcorn and a pickle, a very interesting combo, but when he tried Popnotch Goods Dill Pickle popcorn, he said he went back in time to 1975. For some reason, popcorn is the simplest snack, but it finds a way to connect people and makes you reminisce. Do you have a popcorn story? We would love to hear it!
Ok, so how did this Popnotch Goods thing even start? If you would have asked me ten years ago if I wanted to start a business, I would have said yes, but with no real ideas or concepts that inspired me. I admired business owners like my Grandpa Postma, who owned Postma’s Furniture in Artesia, CA. If you’re Dutch and have ties to Artesia, CA you might know Bill Postma, a true legend. Or my mother, she started her own hair salon in our backyard, working from home before it was even cool. Oh and free haircuts, clutch. My path though was traditional, get good grades, go to college, and get a job, I accomplished all three. I moved from Long Beach, CA and went to Calvin University graduating with a degree in Business Marketing. After college, I found myself working in corporate America at Gordon Food Service. I worked for their stores and helped manage the produce category, an extremely fun and wild world. From there, I moved onto another role within GFS and then COVID….how many of us have a covid story?
I was furloughed and was free as a bird with nothing to do except sit in the house and binge every show known to mankind. What a wonderful time…Something did not sit right with me. I became antsy and thought a lot about what the future held. I also did not like how vulnerable or reliant I was on someone or something else. Now, I would be lying if I said furlough was horrible. No work and get paid, that is the American dream, right? For me it wasn’t. So I took a new job in an “essential” business. I worked for a battery company. Need one? I know a guy.
While working to stay busy, my entrepreneurial spirit came to life. Day in and day out I was thinking of business ideas I could pursue, but nothing seemed to stick until popcorn. A popcorn shop in a small rural town in Illinois caught my eye. Chris, the owner, is a seasoned vet in the popcorn world. She has been popping popcorn for 25 years. She is a family friend and welcomed me with open arms to watch her make popcorn and show me what it takes to do it.
After my experience with Chris, I was bought in on starting a gourmet popcorn shop. A couple things happened. One, my memories of my childhood came to life. Popcorn is a timeless snack that somehow brings people together. I wanted to start a business not only to make a great product, but also to enhance the community around me with this little treat. I am an extroverted person so people are important to me. Popcorn to me, brought those things together. Two, popcorn is a vehicle for flavors. There are endless opportunities to make plain popcorn come to life, like the story I shared about my father. This made me conclude that popcorn could be a viable business with opportunities to become a one of a kind popcorn shop.
A passion I thought I would never have, popcorn, came to life through some pretty trying times. I am fortunate to have this opportunity to serve West Michigan with a snack that I think tops all other snacks. I hope that as Popnotch Goods continues popping corn and interacting with the community I hope we can be an uplifting place that people love to go to, talk about, and share with others. Thanks for taking the time to read about a part of my life. This is only the beginning and I hope to continue the story as time goes on.