A gourmet popcorn shop in northwest Indiana is preparing for expansion. Popcorn World in Gary bills itself as the largest shop of its kind with more than 480 flavors from traditional caramel to Oreo to even crab legs. LeBarron Burton Sr., owner and operator of Popcorn World, says demand has led to a need to grow beyond the company’s three locations in Gary, Michigan City, and Oak Lawn, Illinois.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Burton said he wants to go national.
“Our online presence…last year, we did an $80,000 day; we literally had an order every three minutes for about 24 hours,” said Burton. “I learned really fast that we need more kitchens to do that. So logistically, we decided that [we] want to get licensees in the major markets, so that’s what we’re looking to do now.”
Popcorn World was originally founded in 2008 as Popcorn Haven by two grade school friends of Burton, who later took over operations.
In addition to the physical expansion, Burton says he is looking to grow his own popcorn kernel, an idea born out of the supply chain crisis and the difficulties in bringing in product.
Burton says he also has plans to acquire a potato chip brand based in the region as well.
“Peerless Chips, it’s dear to the heart of northwest Indiana. It’s a brand that’s been out, I think, since the 20s and it was a very great potato chip and it just seems like a match made in heaven,” he said. “I need the space for Popcorn World and I have the flavors. I have the recipes. I can probably extend that brand pretty far.”
According to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, the Peerless Potato Chip company was acquired in 2020, but the new owners were looking for a buyer or investors.
Burton says he hopes to bring in some investors to acquire the Peerless brand and revive it.