Frozen yogurt or FroYo, as so many now call it, has become nearly as ubiquitous as coffee shops.With low barriers to entry and and few ways to differentiate such a commoditized product, popcorn is seemingly fast becoming the next popular business model.
|A mall-based doc popcorn|
I first noticed gourmet poporn being sold in malls such Grapevine Mills near Dallas, NorthPark Center in Dallas, and Mall of America near Minneapolis on trips this past summer. Grapevine and Mall of America featured locations of Boulder, Colorado-based Doc Popcorn, one of the nation's largest franchise operations with nearly 80 PopShops across the country. Doc Popcorn stores come in a variety of formats: kiosk locations, in-line mall spaces, and mobile units and catering. Doc Popcorn is found in a number of malls and shopping centers, most notably for me, King of Prussia Mall, outside Philadelphia.
Doc popcorn was started in 2003 in New York by husband and wife Rob and Renée Israel. The couple soon moved to Boulder, Colorado where Doc Popcorn grew to the mini empire that it is today.
Calhoun-based Popcorn Haven is a popcorn franchise with nine locations in its home state of Georgia in addition to four licensed locations under alternate branding in Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas.
Atlanta-based LockHeart has two locations that I'm aware of and have visited. The company has a kiosk location on the first floor of Cumberland Mall and a storefront location in a former Pretzel Time space on the lower level of Northlake Mall in Tucker. This local shop offers a few different rotating flavors of "Chicago Style Popcorn."
Doc Popcorn offers just 9 flavors, while Popcorn Haven claims to have 250 flavors. It's akin to the comparison of Pinkberry to Yogli Mogli, where Pinkberry has but four or six options and Yogli Moigli usually has sixteen.
Chicago, Illinois based Garrett Popcorn, one of the oldest and most well known popcorn shops, has about a dozen domestic locations and a handful of international stores. "A Chicago tradition since 1949," ten of the company's twelve domestic locations are in the Windy City with one each in New York and Las Vegas.
What do you think of this current popcorn craze? Is this bubble about to pop or is popcorn here to stay? What national chain would you like to see come to Atlanta? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.