By Devon Johnson
Alberta-based gourmet snack brand Poko Popcorn is planning on expanding nationwide. The company who currently has 4 locations in the Calgary area has announced an aggressive expansion plan to open 40 locations within the next five years.
Poko Popcorn was founded in Calgary in 2015 as a "kitchen experiment with a small group of friends who saw an opportunity to create an exceptional snack product by investing in real, quality ingredients, developing a unique process and creating flavours packed with punch," according to the company. This process has gained a cult-like following.
Unlike many signature popcorn stands, the company produces their popcorn in small batches to ensure a fresh taste and warm temperature. The popcorn also comes in thirteen varieties, including Orange Cheddar, Red Caramel Corn, Chicago Style, and Caramel Pecan. Each batch is flavoured and drizzled in front of the customer's eyes. This ensures the product is served warm, and is packed full of fresh flavour.
The company has launched four locations: at CF Market Mall, CrossIron Mills, Shawnessy and in Okotoks. All four locations are co-branded with global signature ice cream brand Marble Slab Creamery (found in over 15 countries worldwide). This unique combined location strategy brings both brands' gourmet snacks under one location.
With a different product offering, Poko Popcorn will help these Marble Slab Creamery locations become profitable through colder months when ice cream isn't as popular. An added benefit is that Poko Popcorn takes up a relatively small space. This allows Poko Popcorn to co-brand with a variety of brands, rather than focus solely on stand alone locations.
The company will focus on expansion throughout Alberta, followed by expansion in British Columbia and Ontario. The company will target interior mall locations with spaces at 300-500 square feet, with also smaller kiosk locations at 150-250 square feet.
The company is looking to franchise locations across Canada, with future locations focused in the Alberta area. Poko Popcorn states the company "will manage every aspect of real estate, construction and start-up, and provide extensive training as well as ongoing marketing and operations support". Franchise information can be found on Poko Popcorn's website.