How a food allergy inspired this Fayetteville food company

Courtesy: HotSugarPop

Everyone, including people with food allergies, wants snacks they can enjoy. This is what Will and Tiffany Glass had in mind when they created their kettle corn business, HotSugarPop.

After learning of their son’s food allergies, they had to figure out how to handle it. Tye Glass, who was 8-years-old when his mom and dad tried making new snacks for him, loved popcorn. However, the ingredients in his favorite snack triggered allergic reactions.

Will and Tiffany began a trial and error period of making their own popcorn with natural ingredients. They found the perfect recipe with different kernels, oils, and seasoning. Their homemade treat not only pleased Tye, but the entire household.

Will explained that perfecting their recipe for Tye’s food allergies took dedication, but he and his wife remained persistent.

“It takes work,” Will said. “But it’s not that hard.” Will had a background in food service, so his expertise helped get the job done.

Popping large quantities of kettle corn left the family with a lot to share. Tiffany, who worked at Fort Bragg, would take bags to work and share them with her co-workers. They fell in love with the naturally-made kettle corn and asked her and Will to make more. The delicious popcorn touched the lives of dozens. It influenced Will and Tiffany to start selling their family snack.

According to Will, the early stages of their popcorn-making business took place in a community kitchen in Chapel Hill, NC. They would drive there after work to get in the kitchen and create enough bags to last them a few weeks. Once they got low on their product, they traveled back to pop more.

Will eventually met the owner of a community kitchen here in Fayetteville. Once the owner learned about Will and his wife’s commute to Chapel Hill, he offered them space to cook their popcorn in his kitchen. The owner also agreed to sell HotSugarPop in his shop. After popping in the kitchen, they officially launched their business on October 26th, 2018.

The overwhelming support grew just as much as their popcorn flavors. In addition to classic, cheddar and butter flavors, they added some sugar to the kettle. Bubble Gum and Unicorn are two flavors for those with more of a sweet tooth. The colorful appearance creates a mystery for minds that inquire about the taste.

For popcorn eaters who love a kick, the Sweet Heat and Spicy Cheddar are the best options. Some seasonal flavors are available on a limited basis and usually sell quickly. Their first seasonal flavor, Candy Cane, dropped in December of last year. It was so successful they decided to make another seasonal flavor, Strawberry Marshmallow Kiss, for Valentine’s Day. They even went on to try an Irish Crème flavor for St. Patrick’s Day. They’re currently selling Lemon Cake, a new flavor for the spring season. Other flavors to try include Cookies & Crème, Apple Spice, and Red Velvet Cookies & Crème.

Each flavor is a special addition to a dessert table. Will shared how Tiffany turns their flavored popcorn into displays for birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, and other events. Unicorn is the ideal choice for any unicorn-themed parties and Strawberry Marshmallow Kiss were on display for Valentine’s get-togethers.

HotSugarPop sells small bags for $5 and large bags for $10. In larger amounts, they have 2-gallon tins on sale for $24.99 and 3.5-gallon tins on sale for $39.99. People can customize their tin with three different flavor options.

The next flavor that Will is excited to try is a whiskey popcorn. This time, however, he hopes to create it in their new center. The owner of the community kitchen will be helping Will and Tiffany open their own location. As they continue expanding their business.

Their popularity has landed them on the shelves of Dirtbag Ales’ Farmers Market and Grapes and Hop, a beer, wine, and spirits store. They take pride in all partnerships, especially with local retailers.

HotSugarPop was also featured at the Entrepreneurship Expo held by Fayetteville State University’s Broadwell College of Business and Economics.

“We want people to know there is a popcorn company here. We want to become Fayetteville’s favorite snack,” says Will.

For partnerships, purchases, or more information about HotSugarPop, visit their website.