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Things are ‘popping’ for business

Off the Menu

May 23, 2021

Story By: Don Robbins | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Island Popper’s mix-and-match four cup ($10 with 25 cents extra for kakimochi)

It’s graduation season, and patrons of Island Popper on Colburn Street in Kalihi are frequently buying the company’s gourmet popcorn in bulk quantities for everything from drive-thru celebrations, gifts for teachers and more.

“It’s all different scenarios, hundreds at a time,” shares owner Andrea Tournis-Vagenas.

Among the choices available for purchase is the four-cup ($10), which allows customers to mix and match different flavors of popcorn any way they’d prefer. You can get kakimochi added for an additional 25 cents.

Whether it’s for parties, birthdays or any other festivities, the cups are perfect to give as gifts and in larger orders, too.

Island Popper’s individually packaged cups of gourmet popcorn

“They meet COVID criteria. They are individually packaged to hand out. They are heat-sealed and stay fresh for two weeks. You just have to pull off the tab on top and pull it open,” Tournis-Vagenas explains.

Just a few of the various flavors the business offers include the Tsunami Mix (original furikake, organic butter and kakimochi), the Maui Mix (caramel and real cheddar cheese), the Big Island Mix (caramel, original furikake and organic butter), and the Kauai Mix (original furikake and real cheddar cheese).

Tournis-Vagenas notes that other items available at the store that will be great for upcoming Fourth of July barbecues are three large bags of popcorn for $20, or three extra-large bags for $40.

Entrepreneur Tournis-Vagenas operated Island Popper food truck for seven years prior to opening the Kalihi shop in July 2019. She mentions that the business has free parking, and it’s located behind the Dillingham Boulevard O’Reilly Auto Parts.

Tournis-Vagenas shares that she’s originally from Chicago, and she started the company because she missed Chicago-style gourmet popcorn.

This type of snack is made from scratch in small batches, using high-quality ingredients. For example, Island Popper’s all-natural kernels are cooked in 100% coconut oil.

“I wanted to bring it to Hawaii, but we do it with a local flair, with furikake and kakimochi,” she explains.

Every week, there is a special featured flavor (alternating sweet and savory). This week, it’s going to be sour cream and onion, Tournis-Vagenas says.

Customers can also preorder online at islandpopper.net for curbside pickup and they can check the website for the full product list and latest weekly specials.

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