Popcorn store looks to bring healthy snack option to Evanston

Bailey Williams, Assistant Summer Editor

Evanston may soon have a new snacking option in popcorn franchise Doc Popcorn, which looks to build a store on Sherman Avenue.

Founded in 2003, Doc Popcorn sells naturally flavored popcorn with varieties such as “sinfully cinnamon,” “triple white cheddar” and “klassic kettle.”

Paul Chen, the would-be owner of an Evanston Doc Popcorn at 1613 Sherman Ave., is awaiting an upcoming city Zoning Board of Appeals meeting to review the store’s proposal.

Typically, Doc Popcorn storefronts are found in shopping malls and other areas with high foot traffic, Chen said.

Although Chen initially didn’t think Evanston had high enough traffic to support a Doc Popcorn store, he said after visiting Evanston restaurants and mingling with students, he was convinced otherwise.

“There is no snack shop in Evanston,” he said. “There are tons of restaurants, so I thought (Doc Popcorn) could be a very nice choice for the student body and for the parents, visitors and local residents.”

Although the store is anticipated to have the same menu as other Doc Popcorn stores, Chen said his location would be unique because of its location outside of a shopping mall or other area associated with high foot traffic. Chen said he hopes to create a fun, relaxing atmosphere in the store.

Renee Israel, who founded the Doc Popcorn franchise with her husband, said the process of determining locations for stores varies, but the Doc Popcorn franchise team attempts to help and support the individual store owners — or “pop-prietors” — with the decision.

“At the end of the day, we tell folks if we think it’s a good idea or not a good idea, and they are responsible for their own business because it is their business,” she said. “They signed a lease and are responsible for their lease and rolling out their location with our support.”

In the case of Evanston’s potential store, Israel said Chen brought the idea to the franchise.

Although the store is still awaiting city approval, Chen said he hoped the store would be opened before Thanksgiving.