Put down the Cracker Jacks. And even that bright orange stuff that comes in the metal tins for that matter. A new popcorn shop has made it's way to Larimer Square and it's pretty dang decadent. Flavors include Soapapilla, Salty Caramel and Peanut Butter and Jelly. Elizabeth Zimmermann, owner of Whatever Pops Up, went back and forth with business ideas after receiving a settlement check from a car accident. Tabling the idea of a frozen yogurt or cupcake shop, Elizabeth went for something a little more unique.
"I had an opportunity to turn a bad situation into a very positive one," says Elizabeth. "While eating a bag of caramel corn, I realized the answer was right in front of my face. Within 24 hours, I developed the entire concept and opened my first store 18 months later."
I popped into Elizabeth's store to catch up.
Carri: Where do you find inspiration for the flavors?
Elizabeth: Most of my menu is the result of much experimentation. I absolutely love buffalo wings and was determined very early on to develop a buffalo and blue cheese flavored popcorn. When I finally got it right, I named it #18 to pay homage to my favorite football player: Mr. Peyton Manning. Dill Pickle seemed a little crazy to me at first, but it has become a top seller for me. Unfortunately, they are not all winners - Wasabi, for instance, was a bust!
Carri: What do you most love about Colorado?
Elizabeth: Colorado is the perfect place for me to be myself. People here are hospitable, open-minded, supportive of small business, and extremely active. Ive really embraced the progressive culture, and am inspired to become a better citizen. I love that there is such an emphasis on the arts here in Denver. The city is beautiful with the natural landscape, but the random statues and such are a bonus for sure!
Carri: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Elizabeth: I think most readers would be surprised to know that I still keep a part-time job as a waitress. I think people assume that business owners quit their day-jobs to pursue their dreams; however, my "day-job" still supports this dream. I work like 80 hours a week right now, but it's all worth it. I will eventually leave the restaurant, but until then, I don't have to worry about how many bags of popcorn I sell each day. I can focus on the bigger picture for now and get everything lined up just the way I want it before truly taking the plunge.