With her sweet, lilting, Southern twang and cheery attitude, Crave Popcorn Co. owner Carol Davis is everything a small mom-and-pop store owner should be. The shop itself is a throwback to small-town life and old-fashioned general stores. In addition to fresh and tasty popcorn, it carries bulk candy, retro signs, t-shirts, candles, novelty sodas and, of course, tin containers for popcorn.
Carol and her late husband Blake opened Crave in February 2014. They had always dreamed of opening a small business together. Carol, a stay-at-home mom, and Blake, who worked in nursery landscaping sales, couldn’t have started out farther from where they eventually landed, making and selling happiness in the form of popcorn.
“Blake was a foodie. We had a few ideas but decided and met in the middle on popcorn,” Carol recalled. It was a chance for them to realize their dreams, to create a legacy to hopefully pass on to their kids and a way to grow old together, working side by side for something they both wanted.
When Blake unexpectedly passed away last year, Carol was left grieving, bereft and responsible for the shop and their two children. After time off, Carol returned to Crave, saying, “It kept me busy, and I think it really helped me through the grieving process.”
It also gave her a way to keep Blake’s legacy going. “We’ve kept all his recipes intact; we make small batches of popcorn with all handmade ingredients, and it’s fresh. Blake was rather picky about his product.” She believes he would have been pleased that she’s picked up and carried on and decided against closing the store.
Carol says her customers are the highlight of her job. She and Blake designed the store to be an experience, and she loves that customers come in and leave happy; she says, “their happiness makes my heart happy.”
Lots of research helps Carol determine what popcorn flavors to offer. Unlike some other popcorn shops, Crave only offers about 30 flavors at one time. Because of her small batch preparation method, she can rotate out flavors more quickly and change her offerings. Some fan favorites do stay on the menu all the time, like the “Plano” blend which is white cheddar, kettle corn and caramel corn, or the popular dill pickle flavor.
The shop makes specialty mixes for holidays and special events such as National Popcorn Day, which is Jan. 19. (This is it, people, it’s what Carol has been training for!) Crave also fulfills custom orders. In addition, Crave is always doing promotions and giveaways on its Facebook page. Carol is huge on supporting her community and Plano at large. She laughed, saying, “I donate to just about everybody – schools, churches, groups – that walk in and ask.”
Carol wistfully gazed around and admitted that she hopes her kids will want the store someday. “That was always our plan, you know. Blake and I wanted to build something we could pass down to them.” But she also accepts that kids will find their own way and do what moves them.
The store’s employees are friends and people that Carol has known a long time, people who have been there for her through everything and genuinely care to see the business thrive. Friends are the family you choose, after all, and anyone can clearly see walking in that Crave is a family business.Crave Popcorn Co. website >