Carly Swift and Mandy Selke, twin sisters and co-owners of Just Pop In!, have been putting finishing touches on their new company headquarters at Cornell Avenue near 64th Street in Broad Ripple, and both women feel the newly renovated facility mirrors the individuality and distinctive style that has marked their gourmet popcorn business since 2003.
Founded by Crown Point natives and IU-Bloomington grads Swift and Selke 14 years ago, Just Pop In! was created to offer high-quality popcorn snacks made with unique – and sometimes unexpected – ingredients. In addition to its signature flavors like Caramel Nut Crunch and Sharp Cheddar Cheese, the company partners with local businesses to create its distinctive popcorns, including Smoking Goose Caramel Bacon & Cheddar, Bazbeaux Tomato & Basil Pizza and Sun King Bavarian Cheese & Pretzel Ale.
Swift says the company’s steady growth since its inception prompted a need for a bigger, more diverse central location after many years in a modest, 500-square-foot retail space on North Guilford Avenue. In 2008, Just Pop In! purchased the Cornell Avenue building, which, until now, has operated solely as a shipping, small manufacturing and storage facility.
“It’s been a huge dream of ours to have our own space where we can actually have our offices and host our community,” Swift says. “We do so many different events off-site with our business partners, and we wanted to be able to welcome them and give them our experience. We’ve been working towards this for a very, very long time.”
The 5,000-square-foot space, west of the Monon Trail and across from Public Greens restaurant, features two levels and a wraparound porch with an exterior fireplace. All the company’s shipping will come out of the building, and the upstairs level will include company offices and a private rental space with a walkout balcony. Construction began in February on the structure, which was 1,200 square feet prior to this year’s renovations.
“It’s an all-ages place where people can come and enjoy themselves,” Swift says. “We’ll have our popcorn bar and then a beer and wine bar downstairs. We’ll have popcorn and beverage pairings, whether it’s a beer flavor with one of our savory popcorn pairings, or a champagne with our chocolate popcorn. We’re also doing a small-plates and soups menu, and we’re partnering with Valerie Vanderpool from Capital City Kitchen. We’re keeping it as local and family-oriented as we can.”
Swift says the company, which stocks its products at multiple retailers across Indy and also has a pre- and post-security presence at Indianapolis International Airport, was founded on three basic philosophies – an optimistic and positive company culture, engagement in community partnerships and advocacy for HIV/AIDS awareness, which both sisters remain passionate about to this day.
While Swift, Selke and their staff have established a strong brick-and-mortar and online sales presence over the years, most of the company’s business comes from corporate partnerships with local, regional and national brands like Marriott International, Vera Bradley and Sephora. In 2008, Just Pop In! was awarded Best New Retail Concept in North America by Airports Council International.
“Cobranding is the biggest part of our business,” Swift says. “It’s a cool, intimate process that we get to have with our clients. Vera Bradley wanted to send out 15,000 pieces when they launched a new bedding line, so we cobranded and did a logo.”
Swift says the new production kitchen and packaging machinery at the new headquarters will allow for increased volume, which will help to facilitate bigger corporate partnerships as such opportunities arise, but she’s quick to add that Just Pop In! will always remain committed to the local community, regardless of the extent or rate of the company’s continued growth.
“Our success has come from staying true to where we started, with those three philosophies that are really important to us,” she says. “It’s staying true to yourself and your brand and surrounding yourself with staff that believes in that philosophy of coexisting and open-mindedness.”
Swift and Selke plan to host a grand-opening celebration in early 2018 to formally introduce their multifaceted headquarters to the city.