Popcorn Pit Stop

Popcorn Pit Stop in Leavenworth, Kansas, specializes in creating and packaging gourmet flavors of popcorn. Rusty Hopper opened the business in 2019.

Popcorn Pit Stop in Leavenworth, Kansas, specializes in creating and packaging gourmet flavors of popcorn. Rusty Hopper opened the business in 2019.

Popcorn Pit Stop in Leavenworth, Kansas, specializes in creating and packaging different flavors of gourmet popcorn. Rusty Hopper and Dolli Richardson opened the business in 2019. Their daughter-in-law Regina Avery also works with them in the store. Rusty Hopper said they begin the process of making the popcorn from seed grown on a farm in Kansas. The types of popcorn they offer customers are chocolate, candy coated, sweet and savory, spicy and caramel. “Everything we use to cook and make the popcorn comes from the United States,” Hopper said. “We want the ingredients we use to be made here.” He said they flavor their own raw sugars and rarely use pre-made flavored sugar. “Each candy coated popcorn recipe is a blend of flavors,” Hopper said. “These are our own recipes. Nobody has ever given us a recipe. It’s about blending flavors to create your own design.” Hopper said they have more than 200 recipes for their popcorn. They create the recipes and select the color from scratch in a lab where they mix flavors and taste the final product. Their top selling flavors of candy coated popcorn are sea salt caramel, hot cinnamon and tutty fruity mix. He said other popular flavors are birthday cake and holly berry — which is a mix of their strawberry and cherry blend. They likewise package and name their own products. They purchase and use large amounts of ingredients at a time including between 200 and 300 pounds of white, milk and dark chocolate to cover their popcorn. “Chocolate covered popcorn has to be put on a candy coated popcorn first,” Hopper said. “Chocolate can’t be put on just any popcorn because it can become chewy. Salted caramel is the background to our very popular oreo cookie popcorn.” Their caramel popcorn is made with the base ingredients of brown sugar and white sugar. Hopper said their sweet and savory popcorn is made with ingredient blends including cheeses. “Sweet and savory popcorn is made with a different process than candy coated popcorn and it produces a lighter popcorn,” Hopper said. “We use real cheddar cheese, dill spices and seasonings.” He said their most popular flavors are loaded baked potato, garlic butter biscuit, garden salsa and cheeseburger. Hopper said controlling the temperature in the building is important. “Humidity is the biggest enemy in our store because it ruins popcorn,” Hopper said. “I want to keep humidity at around 18 percent. If it increases to 20 percent, then it impacts the popcorn.” He said the popcorn is cooled and then tumbled and sifted through to clean out seeds that don’t pop so the customer purchases the best quality popcorn. Customers can make special orders and mix flavors into one bag. They can also customize and change the colors of the popcorn. “For events such as weddings, baby gender reveal parties and birthdays we often see customers that want a certain flavor with a certain color,” Hopper said. “We can do that.” He said they do ask customers about food allergies such as gluten intolerance before they order. In the retail store, his partner Dolli Richardson sells a large selection of Taffy Town to customers. They are taffy made in West Jordan, Utah, and come in flavors such as passion fruit, mango and frosted cupcake. She also makes custom candy baskets for birthdays and holidays using candies and sodas from around the world. They sell unique and nostalgic candy products such as Harry Potter chocolate, Moon Pie, Pop Rocks and a variety of Pucker Powder Candy Art. She also has a wide selection of craft sodas from around the country. Popcorn Pit Stop is located at 1116 N Broadway Street in Leavenworth. They can be found online at www.popcornpitstop.com. The store is open to the public from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. They also are open by appointment for school field trips on Monday through Wednesday. They can be contacted by phone at 913-364-5029.

Popcorn Pit Stop in Leavenworth, Kansas, specializes in creating and packaging different flavors of gourmet popcorn.

Rusty Hopper and Dolli Richardson opened the business in 2019. Their daughter-in-law Regina Avery also works with them in the store.

Rusty Hopper said they begin the process of making the popcorn from seed grown on a farm in Kansas.

The types of popcorn they offer customers are chocolate, candy coated, sweet and savory, spicy and caramel.

“Everything we use to cook and make the popcorn comes from the United States,” Hopper said. “We want the ingredients we use to be made here.”

He said they flavor their own raw sugars and rarely use pre-made flavored sugar.

“Each candy coated popcorn recipe is a blend of flavors,” Hopper said. “These are our own recipes. Nobody has ever given us a recipe. It’s about blending flavors to create your own design.”

Hopper said they have more than 200 recipes for their popcorn. They create the recipes and select the color from scratch in a lab where they mix flavors and taste the final product.

Their top selling flavors of candy coated popcorn are sea salt caramel, hot cinnamon and tutty fruity mix.

He said other popular flavors are birthday cake and holly berry — which is a mix of their strawberry and cherry blend.

They likewise package and name their own products.

They purchase and use large amounts of ingredients at a time including between 200 and 300 pounds of white, milk and dark chocolate to cover their popcorn.

“Chocolate covered popcorn has to be put on a candy coated popcorn first,” Hopper said. “Chocolate can’t be put on just any popcorn because it can become chewy. Salted caramel is the background to our very popular oreo cookie popcorn.”

Their caramel popcorn is made with the base ingredients of brown sugar and white sugar.

Hopper said their sweet and savory popcorn is made with ingredient blends including cheeses.

“Sweet and savory popcorn is made with a different process than candy coated popcorn and it produces a lighter popcorn,” Hopper said. “We use real cheddar cheese, dill spices and seasonings.”

He said their most popular flavors are loaded baked potato, garlic butter biscuit, garden salsa and cheeseburger.

Hopper said controlling the temperature in the building is important.

“Humidity is the biggest enemy in our store because it ruins popcorn,” Hopper said. “I want to keep humidity at around 18 percent. If it increases to 20 percent, then it impacts the popcorn.”

He said the popcorn is cooled and then tumbled and sifted through to clean out seeds that don’t pop so the customer purchases the best quality popcorn.

Customers can make special orders and mix flavors into one bag. They can also customize and change the colors of the popcorn.

“For events such as weddings, baby gender reveal parties and birthdays we often see customers that want a certain flavor with a certain color,” Hopper said. “We can do that.”

He said they do ask customers about food allergies such as gluten intolerance before they order.

In the retail store, his partner Dolli Richardson sells a large selection of Taffy Town to customers. They are taffy made in West Jordan, Utah, and come in flavors such as passion fruit, mango and frosted cupcake.

She also makes custom candy baskets for birthdays and holidays using candies and sodas from around the world.

They sell unique and nostalgic candy products such as Harry Potter chocolate, Moon Pie, Pop Rocks and a variety of Pucker Powder Candy Art. She also has a wide selection of craft sodas from around the country.

Popcorn Pit Stop is located at 1116 N Broadway Street in Leavenworth. They can be found online at www.popcornpitstop.com.

The store is open to the public from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. They also are open by appointment for school field trips on Monday through Wednesday.

They can be contacted by phone at 913-364-5029.