Spotlight: Prospector Popcorn Provides Gourmet Treats and Employment Opportunities

Gourmet popcorn isn’t just a product to the folks at Prospector Popcorn – it’s an opportunity to help people with disabilities.

The business started as a theater that provided employment opportunities to those with disabilities. And they eventually expanded to offer gourmet popcorn throughout the U.S. while continuing that same mission. Read more about the business below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides gourmet popcorn, popped daily in the U.S.

Business Niche

Creating workforce opportunities for those with disabilities.

Director of Digital Marketing Adam Ingberman told Small Business Trends, “Our mission is to create meaningful and inclusive jobs for people with disabilities. 75% of our workforce identify as having a disability.”

Small Business Deals

How the Business Got Started

To solve a major unemployment problem for people with disabilities.

Ingberman says, “Meaningful employment is vital to a person’s mental, social, financial, and emotional health. We improve the quality of life for countless people with disabilities, their families, and their communities.”

Biggest Win

??Achieving record popcorn sales on World Down Syndrome Day.

Ingberman explains, “Supporting WDSD gave us the opportunity to show support for a community that is important to us at The Prospector. Our flavor created just for that celebration, Down With Sparkle, sold beyond expectation and we received fan mail and recognition from all over the US.”

Biggest Risk

Pivoting the business model.

Ingberman says, “Three years ago, we decided that rather than open up another theater, which would have been one way to create meaningful and inclusive jobs for people with disabilities, we instead decided to take our local gourmet popcorn business to a nationwide audience. A national audience that had never heard of The Prospector Theater and was likely to never visit us in person, would not understand the full impact of what we are trying to do: create jobs and sell gourmet popcorn.

“Fortunately, we have excellent acceptance all over the US; people support our mission and let us know we are appreciated, and tell us our popcorn is delicious. We see that taking the risk to go ‘all in’ on gourmet popcorn allows us to continue to expand and create meaningful and competitive jobs.”

Lesson Learned

Offer many flavor options.

Ingberman adds, “Each time we expand our catalog, we find people looking for new and seasonal flavors. I think our fans have come to expect a wide and deep catalog of flavor, especially for each holiday season.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Creating more employment opportunities.

Ingberman says, “Specifically, we would expand our kitchen capacity, look for another location dedicated to Gourmet Popcorn, and reach more of the US with our Gourmet Popcorn and our mission.”

Fun Fact

They take their business on the road.

Ingberman explains, “We drive a pink popcorn van around Connecticut delivering popcorn to partners and businesses. It is a delightful spectacle and we always get looks. Oh, and it has popcorn emblazoned on the side.”


Image: Prospector Popcorn

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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