Sun, May 19, 2024

CSRA entrepreneur pops up a snack success

Hot or room temperature, popcorn is a favorite snack, both at the movies and at home. More than 17 billion quarts are consumed by Americans every year and the global market is expected to reach almost $4 Billion this year.

Dionte Wilder has your cravings covered with WePop Popcorn. His North Augusta business ships his snack throughout the CSRA, across the country, and to military bases around the world. As a retired veteran, Wilder has a special place in his heart for making sure soldiers can taste his treat.

“I was a combat medic and broke both hips. While in rehab, they worked my legs, but also encouraged me to find something to keep my mind active,” explained Wilder.

He did a lot of research on startup businesses with low overheads. Since everyone likes popcorn and it all begins with 3 things: the right kernels, good oil, and the best cooking vessel, WePop was born.

“In the beginning, I was giving away the popcorn just to see how everyone liked it. They loved it. Then, I started selling it, but would donate one package for every one sold. One of our first donations was to the Georgia Mentor program so that the kids who were being fostered could share with their new family.”

Wilder is now looking at the possibility of a brick-and-mortar. That would allow for pickup or a delivery system like Lyft or DoorDash. It would also allow him to stock more popcorn.

Incidentally, the flavors are only limited by imagination. WePop has Mesquite BBQ, Lemon Pound cake, Sour Cream, and Onion but, by far, the most popular is the Butter, Caramel, and Cheese mix.

Wilder has also solicited advice from other popcorn makers. He credits two other factors in helping build his business.

“I joined the North Augusta Chamber and the networking events have been very helpful. We recently set up a partnership with Tru by Hilton for our popcorn to be available at their location, 190 Austin Graybill Rd.”

Wilder also credits reading Augusta Business Daily each morning. “It helps connect me with other small businesses and I can see what is working in the CSRA.”

For more information on WePop Popcorn, visit their Facebook page or their website.

Editor’s Note:
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at mitzioxfordcreative@gmail.com.

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