Nonprofit to start popping at Highway 12 location

A bowl of Tasty Time's caramel pecan popcorn (photo: submitted)
Staff Writer

A local nonprofit soon plans to offer tasty treats in the form of a new business coming to Highway 12.

Tasty Time Gourmet Popcorn - operated by nonprofit NetWORKS - has a grand opening event planned for Saturday, Feb. 18 at 204 Highway 12 E, Suite D. The event will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Marjorie Willis, the executive director and founder of the nonprofit, has been making gourmet popcorn in her kitchen as a fundraising effort for the organization, which works with youths in the community to teach real world job skills.
NetWORKS stands for Nurturing, Educating and Training Works Through Christ Jesus, Ellis said.

The idea for a storefront came when the NetWORKS group began talking about funding for programs. One of the ideas that emerged from a brainstorming session was to create a product to sell and raise funds.
"I make the popcorn myself, so it's more quaint," Willis said. "You're not going to see 150 flavors, because we just want to be a quaint specialty popcorn store."

Willis said the official location is in between 400 and 500 square feet of business space, and will start off employing volunteers with the hopes of eventually have three to five part-time employees.
Young people involved in the organization will also play an integral role in the store, which is also plays into a key part of what NetWORKS aims to do in the community.

"We are working with young people on how to follow directions and to prepare them for the workforce, and they develop communication skills from greeting customers, and just helping the business," Willis said,
As of now, the plan for the store is to be open Wednesday through Saturday.

Willis said Tasty Time's best sellers are plain caramel, caramel pecan, caramel cashew, Chicago style (which is caramel cheddar cheese) and plain cheddar.

She then said they are currently in the process of converting to different serving sizes available for sale.

"Right now, we do special orders and those start at a half-gallon up to three gallons," she said. "Now, we are converting those sizes to be more over the counter, like three cups, six cups, eight cups and so on."

A grand opening celebration is planned that will feature free hotdogs, face painting, and some popcorn that will be free along with chances for people to taste different flavors and opportunities to buy popcorn.

While an important goal is to generate funds for NetWORKS programs, Willis said the primary mission is to foster responsible citizenship starting with young people in the community.

"I would like for the community to know any time they come in they are helping the youth, and I would like them to take it as a by in type situation that they are helping these kids," Willis said.