Shop Local, Support Local – Sandy’s Popper

Shop Local, Support Local – Sandy’s Popper

Sandy’s Popper, 5503 Sixth Avenue
Sandy’s Popper is local, family-owned shop, and operated by David and Sandy Hawes, husband and wife.

Supporting & shopping local is one of the many ways that you can give back to the community. In todays climate small businesses need you more than ever,  In this series of Q&A’s we get to know some of the local business owners and what their businesses have to offer.

Q. How did you get your idea or concept for the business? 
A. The idea began with the acquisition of our two popcorn wagons in October 2005. We acquired the mid-1950’s vintage wagons from their original owner. (Hence, the name “Sandy’s Popper(s)”.) During our first two seasons at Kenosha’s outdoor Harbor Market it became apparent that we needed a permanent location to produce and expand our popcorn business. In addition, and most importantly, we wanted to create memories of ice cream and popcorn for others as we had experienced ourselves, Downtown. We opened our Downtown shop, as a home-made gourmet popcorn shop and ice cream parlor, on May 1, 2008.

Q. What products and services do you provide?
A. Our popcorn list includes nearly 100 popcorn varieties, with several popcorn “families”. Double Cheddar Cheese and Caramel Corn Mix (often referred to as “Chicago Mix”), gourmet white grape-seed oil and sea salt (“plain”) popcorn, chocolate-drizzled Turtle Mix caramel corn, Bacon Cheddar and Puppy Chow are family toppers. We specialize in custom popcorn and sweet treat gift packs, boxes and tins. We also continue to cater to weddings, showers, reveals and other special events.
We feature more than 30 flavors of Wisconsin’s own Cedar Crest premium parlor ice cream.  We serve traditional ice cream cones and cups and made-to-order sundaes, floats, shakes and malts, plus loaded ice cream sundae boats and unique, limited/featured Hurricane Shakes.
We provide walk-in, curbside and delivery services, as well as order-by-phone custom order shipments.
We offer an extensive variety of popcorn and ice cream items for local delivery and in-store and curbside pickup from our on-line order application, linked from our website as well as from Facebook.

Q. What do you love about Downtown Kenosha? 
A. We both grew up in Kenosha, both graduated from the Downtown Bradford H.S, both experienced the Downtown-centered lifestyle and attractions. For us, opening a shop in Downtown Kenosha was very important. We wanted to create memories of ice cream and popcorn for others as we had experienced ourselves. Prior to establishing our current storefront shop we cruised Downtown until we found a suitable location. We still “scoop the loop” many times per week. We hope to preserve and grow our presence in Kenosha, as we continue with Thomas, our son, as the full-time master gourmet popcorn maker.

Q. How would you describe your business to a potential customers?
A. We produce, serve and package fresh popcorn products and serve Wisconsin’s Cedar Crest hand-scooped, parlor ice cream. We specialize in a wide variety gourmet popcorn, cheese corn, caramel and kettle corn, including flavored, savory and gourmet popcorn mixes. Popcorn products are delivered to the customer fresh in bulk, packaged shelf stock, gift packs, boxes and tins.  Gourmet and old-fashioned candies and beverages augment our popcorn and ice cream varieties. We sell retail, limited local wholesale and corporate/business. Prior to 2020, we also provided fresh popped corn and pre-packaged items at the Kenosha Harbor Market, Kenosha Pops, PB&J and other local special events.

Q. What do you offer that stands out from other shops? 
A. We work to offer fun-oriented ice cream, popcorn, nostalgic sweets, and special event products along with good customer service, a cheery shop setting and family-friendly pricing, all factoring in as we continue to build our loyal customer base. Word-of-mouth, local advertising, local events participation, community giving and support from the Kenosha Area Convention Visitors Bureau and other local businesses are important as well.
There are substantial challenges and pressures that are inherent in running a small business, not to mention the unforeseen events of 2020 and their future implications. Yet, our satisfaction comes from providing memories for Downtown visitors, employment (often first-time), and opportunities to evolve and improve and being a part of an important, growing Downtown Kenosha destination.

Sandy’s Popper,
5503 Sixth Avenue

Q&A, Photos, Concept by Donny Stancato
Edited by Jason Hedman
(This appears in the Downtown Kenosha Magazine Vol.13 #4 2020/21