Central Pop!, a one-stop-shop for over 55 flavors of popcorn, has landed in the East Valley.
Located at Ray and Cooper roads in Chandler, the craft popcorn shop hopes to soon offer up to 75 unique flavors like cheddar pretzel ale and churro. It already offers flavors such as peanut butter amd bacon and cheese.
“We’re unique in the sense we’re really the only ones doing the full-blown—four, five or six dozen flavors,” said Christopher Schlabaugh who owns the shop with his wife, Lisa.
After moving to Chicago for three years, Schlabaugh said he was inspired by the popularity and variety of Windy City craft-popcorn shops, he never saw before.
After moving back to Arizona, he and Lisa decided to open their shop and bring a taste of Chicago to the valley.
With their minds set on starting their first business, the two opened their shop after about a year of planning.
Since then, Schlabaugh said their business steadily allowed them to test out different techniques and try out new recipes.
“I’ve been cooking for years, so for me, I like getting in the kitchen and trying new things,” Schlabaugh said.
Their inspiration usually comes from looking at a food or a treat and thinking about how to replicate the flavor into popcorn. This is how they’ve created flavors like cherry blossom, Cincinnati chili and more.
Central Pop! also offers flavored marshmallows and crispy rice treats which are made fresh in the shop.
Schlabaugh said the shop created a social media presence, and in the future, plans on working with local businesses and communities to offer their product.
“My husband and I are addicted to the popcorn,” said Carie Kahn in a Google review. “The rice crispy treats are amazing and the marshmallows are so fresh and soft. Everyone needs to try this place. I love it. Plus, the owner is super nice and personable.”
Due to the vast variety of different flavors Central Pop! offers, customers can be overwhelmed when walking through the door. Schlabaugh said.
So the couple is more than happy to walk each customer through the different kinds of popcorn and offer free samples.
“We really wanted to focus on the customer experience,” said Schlabaugh. “When people come in, whether they’ve been here before or not, they can come in and we walk them through what we’re doing.”
As their business continues to grows, they plan on putting together deals like a Saturday night movie popcorn special where customers can get a large bag of popcorn and a drink for a discounted price.
“We hope to be a successful local business,” Schlabaugh said. “(We want) to service local communities and use products that are high quality and have customers that are happy with what we are offering.”
In the future, they plan on opening up more locations across the valley, as well as offer catering at corporate events.
Information: 480-726-1887, centralpopalicious.com