One Sweet Southlake Business
Get to know Le Popcorn Owner Elizabeth Thames
Just walk into Le’ Popcorn and Candy on Southlake Boulevard and try not to smile. We consider it impossible, and that’s because as the bubbly owner Elizabeth Thames puts it, “Candy brings a hint of happiness.” And why wouldn’t it? We all have fond memories of reaching our chubby little fingers into that glass jar at the corner store and fishing out something yummy, gummy and sweet. Thames keeps that nostalgic feeling alive for another generation.
The feeling of nostalgia and a “sweet blast-from-the-past” was exactly what the Alvin, Texas native, and mother of three had in mind when she was creating the ideas behind her very own business. Elizabeth herself recalled trips, when as a child; she made a point of visiting the candy shops everywhere her family traveled. As she entered adulthood, candy was still one of her favorite things and in 2009 she joined the ranks of those who turned their obsessions into a successful business.
The original Southlake business has gone through some changes but fortunately their ever-expanding fan base, which includes Southlakians and celebrities alike, moved right along with them. Now three years later, Thames the sole owner and branding maven is happy when we say she has, “One Sweet Business.”
Southlake Style: What led you to decide to start your own business?
Elizabeth Thames: It felt pretty natural to start my own business. Growing up I was the kid with a thousand ideas and business concepts. In the summers I would ask my friends to set up lemonade stands with me. I would go all out on the sign and have glitter all over everything. In 2009, I came up with and created Le’ Popcorn and Candy. The most important thing to me was to be original and make sure I was the only one with my concept and design. I consider branding very important and I’m proud to say Le' Popcorn and Candy is definitely my baby.
SS: You used to be a dancer, so how did you come up with the idea to start a candy business?
ET: It was a toss up between a candy shop or a dance (ballet) school and after research I discovered there are a lot of very good dance schools in DFW but zero boutique style candy shops. It was funny because adding the gourmet popcorn was sort of an after thought, but that has really become what we are known for.
SS: What characteristics do you bring to make Le’ Popcorn and Candy successful?
ET: My creativity and hard work definitely play into it but it all comes down to really enjoying what you do. I really enjoy my customers and I love when they make me smile. Having a good staff helps too. I've got our iCandy Crew and being a mom of three, wife and business woman I can honestly say I couldn't do it without my staff. Even though they might say I'm a bit of a control freak, I do rely on them a lot.
SS: What exactly is the iCandy Crew? Please tell us more.
ET: Our iCandy Crew is the catering arm of Le’ Popcorn and Candy. Through our crew we assist in all aspects of catering special events, parties and weddings. We have even been able to cater events nationwide. The crew also brings a fun element to any gathering, they know how to make people gravitate to a candy and popcorn station – not that partygoers need much help.
It's so unreal because we are just a little shop but we've recently gained national attention and had the opportunity to create popcorn and candy displays for celebrities like Tiger Woods, John Mayer, Keith Urban and MC Hammer. We catered the TigerJam in Las Vegas for the Tiger Woods Foundation and for the AT&T National in Philadelphia. Last month we even brought our brand to the Jersey Shore and catered an event for Snooki.
SS: Congratulations on the national success! What do you like most about the Southlake market?
ET: I'm from a small town and to me Southlake has that sense of community. Southlake reminds me of where I grew up. It was a great place. Nolan Ryan was one of our community neighbors – and now that he is with the Rangers he sort of still is a neighbor. Southlake just brings back fond memories off where I grew up.
SS: How is the business climate in right here in Southlake?
ET: I feel like the Economic Development in Southlake is top notch. The city truly cares about strong relationships with local businesses, as a small business owner, I don't feel lost. I've got support if I need it. I really like that.
SS: What are your most popular products? Do you have a personal favorite?
ET: When it comes to popcorn our Dill Pickle, Beer Cheddar and Puppy Chow are very popular. Puppy Chow is a mix of popcorn, peanut butter, pretzel sticks, rice chex and powdered sugar- and it is amazing! Our customers like the individual sized bags for party favors and special treats As for my favorite, I have a new one every week!
SS: Anything special for Valentine’s Day?
ET: Oh yes! Our Red Velvet Cake (flavored popcorn). Interesting story, that flavor was a customer suggestion and it was huge last Valentine's Day! I gave the customer who suggested it a free bag because it was such a cool idea! Having fun with the customers and creating new products is so much fun!
SS: How do you not eat the profits?
ET: Oh, I eat my share! Not only do I eat the popcorn but I smell like popcorn too. I was Christmas shopping for my husband and a salesman at the store literally stopped and asked, "Why do I smell popcorn?" I started laughing and said, "Sorry, that's me." Even my kids are known affectionately around town as “The Popcorn Kids.”
SS: Who are some of your best customers?
ET: Some of our best customers are teachers and having three kids I think that being a teacher is one of the toughest jobs in the world. I always give teachers discounts when they buy for their classes. It just feels good, and I’m sure the kids love it!
SS: Tell us about your favorite Le Popcorn Moment?
ET: Recently a customer brought in her 10 year old daughter to meet me because her daughter loves my shop and wants to own a candy shop one day. That was so special, the look on the little girl's face reminded me of when I was little and would walk into my favorite candy shops.
Personally, and as a dancer, I also enjoyed meeting MC Hammer. He's very supportive and thinks I should open a Le' Popcorn and Candy in San Francisco. He's a cool guy and we’ve stayed in touch through social media.
SS: What are your future plans and goals for the business?
ET: We've got a lot of exciting things happening in 2012. We are still very excited about getting the word out about our new storefront. Also our new website and iPhone app are about to roll out. We now ship product all over the U.S. with web orders and we cater events all over. I'm just excited people in Southlake, and throughout the country, like our product and want to build on that.
SS: If you weren't selling popcorn and candy, what would you be doing?
ET: I would teach my children the art of a lemonade stand.
LePopcorn and Candy Confiserie
480 W. Southlake Blvd 119
Southlake, TX 76092