Poppy Hand-Crafted Popcorn, the Asheville-based gourmet popcorn maker specializing in natural, non-GMO popcorn in dozens of flavors, has announced the addition of a new shipping and fulfillment facility in Old Fort, NC. The new facility, which began operations at the beginning of March, will allow Poppy to expand kitchen and production space at their existing Black Mountain facility by 2500 square ft. As a result, the gourmet popcorn maker will boost production capacity by more than 25 percent, increasing the company’s ability to fulfill wholesale orders for retailers throughout North America.

When Ginger Frank founded Poppy Hand-Crafted Popcorn in 2014, Western North Carolina’s job market was front and center for her. “I started Poppy so that I could have a job that gave me more time with my kids. As the company grew, I realized that it’s hard for lots of people to find a good job in this area,” says Frank. “It was a very deliberate decision to keep our production local. When we built our facility in Black Mountain, we quickly learned that the workforce there is a great resource—people are really committed to their jobs and to this area. We’ve also found that as business is growing in these smaller surrounding towns, the welcome from the locals is so heartwarming. They're genuinely glad we're there, and that small town feeling just can't be ignored.”

With the growing cost of living and doing business in Asheville, Poppy isn’t the only company finding Old Fort welcoming. The new shipping and fulfillment space in downtown Old Fort is next door to Hillman Brewing and Kitsbow Cycling Apparel. “We love how much Hillman and Kitsbow have become a part of the Old Fort community and are working on some really cool projects in the area to support the local economy,” continues Frank. “Our commitment to Asheville, Black Mountain, and now Old Fort is something we feel very passionate about as well.” 

The new shipping facility in Old Fort will employ existing Poppy employees, but Frank anticipates hiring more staff for the Black Mountain facility as soon as the kitchen line and packaging line expansions are completed. Poppy’s workforce has more than doubled over the last three years. “Every year, over the last six years, has been an adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” says Frank. “But coming off of a year like 2020 has given me so much perspective. We’ve gotten the chance to slow down and see what’s really important. When you’re a small business, you’re just trying to grow and survive, but I don’t want to just grow for the sake of getting bigger. I want to grow in a way that’s positive, creating a good work and life balance for our team.”