Forgotten Fad: Popcorn Stores (1982-1985)

Around 1982, all these “gourmet” popcorn stores started opening up in malls around America. Butter and caramel no longer cut it – you had to have watermelon and pina colada-flavored popcorn if you were anyone. (The ‘80s were a heady time.) There were three main, completely identical chains. The only difference was the vicinity to the arcade: Corn Poppers, Popcorn Paradise (which is still around), and Jack’s Corn Cribs, which was owned by Odd Couple star Jack Klugman, who’d gotten hooked on popcorn in 1980 as a low-fat snack. Accordingly, Corn Cribs’ corns were low in salt, sugar, and sales.

Note: this fad is so forgotten, that I couldn’t even find any images, videos, or media to accompany this article.

Brian Boone

From the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Northwest, I contribute to the Retroist, write for trivia publications, and blog about music in a humorous fashion. I feel about "Back to the Future" the way you feel about "Star Wars." Also, I'm married and have a child (sorry ladies, orphans).

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19 thoughts on “Forgotten Fad: Popcorn Stores (1982-1985)

  1. I think it is still open, but on State St in Madison, WI there is a popcorn store. The sell other things, but pretty sure it is mostly different flavor popcorn.
    Looks like I have a quest to find proof of the fabled popcorn store.

  2. When I was going to Ball State in Muncie IN, there was a store that opened up called “Hoosier Poppy” that specialized in all kinds of different popcorn. Needless to say, it didn’t last long.

  3. I remember those stores very well. They were very popular up in NH where I grew up. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  4. Some Chick says:

    That’s odd. I was visiting Boothbay Harbor the other day, and one of the too-hilarious-not-to-check-out places there, right next to the coffee shop, was a popcorn store. They had about thirty different flavors. The most ill-advised was one called “Moose Poops”. (There are times when I wonder if we New Englanders secretly dislike our tourists…)

  5. Merman says:

    We had one right by our “MOVIES TO GO” store in Manchester, MO, which I believe was later bought out by Blockbuster Video. I seem to remember pizza flavored popcorn, which in reality was just a littler saltier than regular popcorn.

  6. We never had one of these in our town – the powerful pizza parlor cabal would never allow it. But it was a must visit whenever we went to the mall. I can still smell it. Now all we have are these infernal pretzel shops as far as the eye can see.

  7. Cyxodus says:

    I seem to remember River Ridge Mall (in Lynchburg, Va) having a popcorn store in the 80’s. Wish I could remember more but all I’m getting is a vague visual of multicolored pop corn being sold at the front of a store. Maybe the candy store near RR’s arcade sold it.

  8. Al says:

    There are popcorn stores around, mostly in the big cities where you have Dale and Thomas and Garrett’s, but some small stores that are around too. I know, I own one, the Adirondack Popcorn Co. in Lake Placid, NY.

  9. We have a small chain of them in Seattle. Very gourmet. Salted caramel and truffle porcini are among the flavors.

  10. Amanda says:

    You need to visit the midwest. They’re everywhere. Last time I visited family in Iowa my sister went in to one at the mall and got both chicken curry flavored popcorn and a cheeseburger flavored popcorn. She even Instagrams pictures of said multi-colored popcorn. Evidently Iowa didn’t get the memo. :(

  11. Amelyn says:

    That reminds me that I haven’t bought pop-corn from Kernels in a while… Now, I have a craving for caramel pop-corn. Dammit guys!

  12. Lisa says:

    I remember Jack’s Corn Crib. It was in City Center in downtown Minneapolis. Shame that it’s gone because that’s where I learned to love Caramel Cheese corn. No the Chicago mix of caramel corn mixed with cheese corn, caramel corn tossed with cheddar cheese. De-lish! Fortunately for me, the franchise Karamelcorn now makes it, calling it TwisterCorn. I can still get my fix.

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