Small Business: Pass The Popcorn

How a little town in Indiana inspired two city slickers to turn their snack into a global brand

Five years ago, two big-city businessmen visited Dale Humphrey, mayor of a small town called Popcorn, Ind. (pop. about 50). They had just the kernel of an idea for a business--gourmet popcorn--and visited the town on a whim. Humphrey charmed them with stories about his neighbors, passionate farmers who lived and breathed to harvest corn. Inspired, the two entrepreneurs started selling online and opened up a small shop in Manhattan, getting most of their product from the good people of Popcorn.

The little company grossed just $1 million that first year, but its founders, Warren Struhl and Richard Demb, had big...

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