Sweet Poppins now serves gourmet popcorn in St. Charles

The area’s newest gourmet popcorn shop just popped open in St. Charles. Owner Erica Priest opened Sweet Poppins on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 825 S. Main St.

“One day, my husband [Bryan Priest] and I just decided to start a business together,” Priest said. “We thought a popcorn shop would be really great and really fun for our kids.”

Priest, who previously worked in human resources for nearly 18 years, spearheaded the project’s development while her husband assisted with numbers and analytics. Priest said the two settled on popcorn because it’s fairly quick and easy to make.

“It’s not too expensive, it makes everybody smile, and there really aren’t any popcorn allergies, so everyone can enjoy it,” Priest said.

Sweet Poppins offers an array of specialty seasonal flavors, including Halloween candy and buttered candy corn. All popcorn is made in-house daily with organic, non-GMO kernels.

Early every morning, Priest arrives at the storefront and pops all the corn she will sell that day. She uses two different types of kernels: thick, mushroom kernels for flavored popcorn, like cheddar and caramel (Priest believes it holds flavor the best), and butterfly kernels for seasoned popcorns, like sea salt or lightly salted (because it’s lighter and airier).

Sweet Poppins utilizes traditional tools and ingredients, including a kettle for kettle corn and a caramelizer for caramel corn, and all kernels are sourced locally.

Priest said St. Charles’ historic Main Street, with its many events and similarly sized independent businesses, was the perfect atmosphere for Sweet Poppins.

“St. Charles has an old-timey vibe and an eclectic feel, and it’s a very unique place to be,” Priest said.

Jane Thier is an editorial intern at Sauce Magazine.