Something sweet is poppin’ in Glendale.
Milwaukee-based popcorn and confectionery maker What’s Poppin’ Inc. plans to quadruple its footprint with a move into and expansion of an office and warehouse facility on North Flint Road in Glendale.
What’s Poppin’ makes popcorn, fudge and taffy for commercial clients and fundraisers. Bret Eulberg, head kernel of What’s Poppin’, said the product is ghost branded, so clients can use their own labeling or branding when selling to customers. He said the company makes 50 different flavors of popcorn.
According to city documents, What’s Poppin’ is seeking to occupy a portion of the facility located at 6161 N. Flint Road. Eulberg said the company also plans to add a second story atop its portion of the facility. The new addition along with existing 3,000 square feet would bring the What’s Poppin’ footprint to 6,000 square feet. This is four times the size of its existing 1,500 square feet of space on West Florist Avenue in Milwaukee.
The requested occupancy and use of the facility space is to be reviewed Tuesday evening by Glendale’s Plan Commission.
Eulberg said the expanded space is needed to store larger quantities of the company’s product. Its current set-up limits how much product What’s Poppin’ can make and store for clients. He mentioned an opportunity several years ago wherein an existing client that wanted to make its branded popcorn available on the shelves of a major retail store chain. Due to space limitations, they were not able to make and store enough popcorn at the time.
“We just want to make sure we can handle big orders,” he said. “That’s the whole purpose of opening up the factory.”
Janice Reichhart, manager of What’s Poppin’, said the company currently hires six part-time employees, who come in whenever the company receives a new order.
“One thing we take a lot of pride in is our product is made fresh,” she said.
She said the goal with the new facility is to be able to hire some workers full time.
The city documents state the company plans to employ three full-time workers and operate between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
What’s Poppin’ has expansion plans beyond the new facility. Eulberg said he’s hoping the expanded space will allow the company to reopen some franchise locations. It previously had franchise spots in Cedarburg and Milwaukee, but they closed long ago, he said.
It is already helping a franchisee open a location in Colombia, Eulberg said.
Reichhart said fundraising clients include school systems, churches and sporting groups. That part of its business “came to a halt” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though its commercial clients have provided enough demand for What’s Poppin’ to move forward with the relocation and expansion, she said.