Kysha Frazier and her husband Daniel moved to South Carolina six years ago because, as Kysha says, “We were tired of the winters in Michigan and Iowa, and we both worked remotely, so we could pick where we wanted to live.” The couple has some family and friends in Charlotte, so they settled in Indian Land.
Recently, the couple opened Popcorn Heaven in the Columbiana Center Mall in Columbia, after a small business loan from CommunityWorks allowed them to purchase the necessary equipment.
Kysha says she found out about CommunityWorks through the South Carolina representative of the Small Business Association, and CW turned out to be the best option for their needs.
Why popcorn, and why Columbia? “My husband and I are from Iowa, and if you’re from Iowa, you grow up eating corn,” Kysha says with a laugh. “We’ve always loved popcorn.” Friends of theirs had started the Popcorn Heaven business in Iowa, expanding to a couple of locations within the state, and the Fraziers licensed the business from them to open a location in South Carolina.
The Columbia piece of the equation had to do with the Fraziers having very specific and firm ideas about the space they needed for the business. They studied foot traffic patterns and decided that a mall space would give them what they needed there. They wanted to be able to pop their 50 flavors of gourmet popcorn fresh on site, that wonderful popcorn aroma being a big part of what draws customers in, and some malls with movie theaters wouldn’t allow that. The Columbiana Center Mall fit their specifications, and in December of last year they opened for business.
“We were very conservative in our business plan,” Kysha says, “and we only included sales from the mall shoppe in our sales projections.” But in January they also launched their web site, mypopcornheaven.com, which ships nationally, and the couple plans to add a mobile cart to be used at regional fairs and festivals.
Daniel has made a career shift as an IT systems engineer and is managing Popcorn Heaven full time, but Kysha still works as a strategic workforce advisor for state and local governments, going down to Columbia to work at the store on weekends.
Kysha says, “Our entire family including our two young daughters work together as a great team to provide a unique variety of delicious popcorn to customers.”