Loyola Magazine

Gourmet popcorn company pops up in Baltimore area

Business is popping for MBA grad

There’s something about popcorn.

Even before Robin Miller Garrison, MBA ’94, opened Popsations Popcorn Company in Timonium, Md., she would tell people about her idea to open a gourmet popcorn business.

“Everyone used to get a smile on their face—either ‘Oh, my gosh, I love popcorn,’ or ‘You have to be insane to try to pull this off,’” she said.

By the time Garrison opened the business during the summer of 2011, she had researched different types of popcorn, found the perfect electric hot air poppers, tasted chocolates to identify which ones worked best drizzled over the treat—and realized she’d be using every aspect of her Loyola degree.

“I’m not only doing the bookkeeping. I’m doing the marketing. I’m doing the PR. I’m basically doing everything,” said Garrison, who lives in Timonium with her husband and their two sons. “Thank goodness I had that background or I never would have even attempted this.”

Garrison worked for about 15 years in marketing and advertising before she had her first child and decided to stay home. Once her sons were going to be in school full time, she started thinking about starting the popcorn business she and her husband had talked about for years.

“I always loved popcorn and my husband loved popcorn. We had visited Chicago and they have a lot of great popcorn shops,” she said. “Baltimore didn’t have its own caramel popcorn. So I am giving it a shot.”

Among the flavored popcorn Popsations creates are its signature Classic Caramel, Milk Chocolate Caramel Drizzle, Dark Chocolate Caramel Drizzle, Cheddar Cheese, and White Chocolate Caramel Drizzle. The bags of popcorn are found in gourmet and specialty shops mainly in the Baltimore area, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina—where the popcorn is sold under the OBX label, with the O as a popcorn kernel—and ordered online.

Despite the long hours Garrison works as the popcorn is popped in small batches and mixed by hand, she is enjoying applying her skills to her business. “I am pulling out all the stops, and for me that’s the fun part.”