By Kia O. Moore
The Historic West End has longtime takeout food spots that have become local favorites. This November a new spot where people can “Pop in and Chill” will be added to the eatery lineup on the west side. Melanie and Justin Powell are bringing gourmet popcorn and assorted confections to the West End with their Poppin’ Sweets eatery. Along with the eatery there will be a Rita's Italian Ice. The locale at 1806 Rozzelles Ferry Road will become West Ends one stop shop for salty, sweet, and cool snacks.
Poppin’ Sweets offers popcorn flavors like best sellers Dill Pickle, Snickers, and Margarita. You can also find an assortment of candy apples, pastries, chocolates, and baked goods. After you have had something salty and sweet, you can then explore cool treats on the Rita’s side of the location.
The Poppin’ Sweets and Rita’s Italian Ice combo is not a new business model. The Powell family have been running this combo shop in Fort Mill, SC since January of last year. The idea came together when they were shopping for their first location. “When we were looking for a space for the Rita’s Italian Ice franchise, we kept running into bigger locations. One of the locations used to be a sweets shop.” The Powell family thought that the best way to use the larger space would be to split the space up as a specialty popcorn and sweets shop with a Rita’s Italian Ice offering. “This combo works well. When someone comes in to explore the popcorn or sweets they get turned on to Rita’s. Or vice versa.”
When it came to picking a second location this combo of stores had an influence on the residents demanding to bring this small business to the West End. Powell and West End residents were determined to make sure the west side had a Poppin' Sweets. Being a Johnson C. Smith University alum and knowing about the change happening in the West End, Powell wanted to be a part of it.
The goal for the shop is to pour back into the community. They will be hiring locally to staff the location. They will also work with bakers from the West End to bring local treats to the masses. The plan is to work with local residents to find new popcorn flavors that best represent local taste buds.
Although the new location is not yet in the West End, residents can get a taste of what is to come on Tuesdays at 3pm at the Rosa Parks Farmers Market (2020 Beatties Ford Road). Poppin’ Sweets sales bags of their gourmet popcorn at the market. On their first day at the market they sold out within an hour. It is not uncommon to see market patron licking their fingers with an open bag of Poppin' Sweets popcorn as they shop.
You can also order treats online to be delivered to your location. Just visit www.poppinsweets.net/shop/ to explore the many flavors and place your order. If you want a preview of the friendly atmosphere, go to the Poppin’ Sweets Fort Mill location at 857 Stockbridge Dr. The Powell family is looking forward to being in to the West End community this coming November.