Pop Pop Shoppe
Poppin’ to the Top: Texarkana Business Inspires and Hires A&M-Texarkana Alumni and Students
Walk into the Pop Pop Shoppe on any given day, and you’ll likely be greeted with a friendly smile from a current student or recent graduate of Texas A&M University-Texarkana.
Since purchasing the company three years ago, Pop Pop Shoppe owner Patrick Thornton of Texarkana, Texas, has made a tremendous impact on the lives of A&M-Texarkana students and graduates, putting them to work in everything from management and production positions to sales and customer service.
Heath Coston and Rhett Bright are two recent A&M-Texarkana graduates who have joined the Pop Pop Shoppe team.
Heath, a former A&M-Texarkana Student Government Association president from Texarkana, Texas, graduated from the university in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in general studies with concentrations in management and psychology. He joined Pop Pop Shoppe corporate at its production facility in September and has been general manager of the Texarkana store on Richmond Road since January. In his role with the Pop Pop Shoppe, Heath manages a team of seven employees and is responsible for sales, marketing and customer relations.
“Most of the employees at our location are A&M-Texarkana student-athletes,” Heath said. “They are great with our customers, providing high-quality, friendly service.”
Rhett, also from Texarkana, Texas, graduated from A&M-Texarkana in December with a bachelor’s degree in history and has worked for the company almost a year and a half. As logistics manager, he handles all orders, coordinates school, church and organization popcorn fundraisers, and is responsible for the point-of-sale system.
The Pop Pop Shoppe maintains anywhere from 10-15 flavors in its stores at any given time, including favorites such as butter, caramel, cheddar, Cornfetti, ranch and Cornferno, Rhett said. Flavors such as cherry, grape, watermelon, loaded potato and dill pickle – just to name a few – are available by special order.
“We’re creating new flavors all of the time,” Heath said. “We focus on keeping everything fresh and flavorful.”
The Pop Pop Shoppe offers several sizes of bagged popcorn, gift baskets, large tins, and a popcorn station with fresh popcorn and toppings. Group fundraising, corporate gift order programs, and popcorn bars for weddings and catering events also are available.
Heath and Rhett said they are excited to be a part of a growing company.
“We’re opening a new production facility in Nash, and we just opened a store in Little Rock in early October,” Heath said. “We’ve begun wholesaling and are adding convenience-store distribution to our mix. It’s a great time to be a part of the Pop Pop Shoppe.”
Another A&M-Texarkana graduate, Haleigh Kate Wright, is general manager of the Little Rock location.
"I was actually working in the shop while attending A&M-Texarkana,” Haleigh Kate said. “Being one of the people who helped start up the business was really helpful because I got to see all of the ins and outs of the new business, which also really helped make moving to Little Rock to run the new store a lot easier. A&M-Texarkana's wonderful educators prepared me for this job."
Heath said the opportunities provided at A&M-Texarkana provided him with leadership, communication, networking and team-building skills.
“I wouldn’t trade my experience at A&M-Texarkana for the world,” he said.
Rhett said his time at A&M-Texarkana and the Pop Pop Shoppe have taught him the “importance of having a driven work ethic and the value of being super organized.”
Active in corporate philanthropy, Thornton and the Pop Pop Shoppe were sponsors of the first-ever Startup Weekend Texarkana entrepreneurial event, which brought together community members and students from all walks of life to create plans for successful businesses and products by pitching ideas, selecting ideas for action, and forming or joining teams.
The 2017 Startup Weekend Texarkana event is set for April 21-23 on the A&M-Texarkana campus.
The Pop Pop Shoppe also has been a part of the Spotlight on Texarkana and Best Week Ever welcome week on the A&M-Texarkana campus.
For more information about the Pop Pop Shoppe, contact Health Coston at Heath @poppopshoppe.com or (903) 908-5410.