Campbell's Popcorn Shop (216-574-2899, campbellsweets.com) is about to explode.
Since 2004, Jeff Campbell has operated his uber-popular popcorn and confections business from his wee stand at the West Side Market. But come late spring, he will have all the room he needs to continue expanding his business. That's when he'll open a roomy retail shop and kitchen just down the block, in the former home of W. 25th Street Furnishings space, which is being developed into multiple retail spaces. (No changes will be made to the West Side Market location.)
The new space will allow Campbell to continue building his wholesale business, which is constrained by the size of his present facilities.
"We have been turning away wholesale accounts because can't keep up," he says. Bed, Bath and Beyond has been clamoring to sell Campbell's dichotomy popcorn, the addictive caramel-and-cheese coated corn that is the company's top seller.
In the new space, says Campbell, all cooking processes will be visible, from popcorn popping and caramel coating to taffy pulling and peanut brittle making. Cameras and video displays will beam images to all corners of the space. New equipment such as candy cookers, chocolate enrobers, and 80-quart cheese coaters will help Campbell keep pace with demand.
Campbell, who also owns and operates Grandma Freda's Fresh Bake and Juice Garden, says that while his business is an impulse one that requires foot traffic, he is not too concerned about opening up down the block.
"We designed the space so that even if it does very little to no retail business we will still make it because of our wholesale business." He also intends to welcome school groups and tours.
Look for a May or June opening.
FYI: For nearly 25 years, the Campbell family ran multiple Karmelkorn Shoppes in malls around Northeast Ohio until the last one at Randall Park Mall closed in 1999.