Poppin with passion

JONESBORO — ReGina Sherrer would rightfully consider herself a connoisseur of sweet treats.

“I just love to cook pastries and anything sweet,” Sherrer said. “I’ve been cooking since I was 8 years old.”

However, she is most fond of making gourmet popcorn. Her passion has become her business.

Sherrer officially opened her gourmet popcorn and sweet treats shop, “What’z Pop’n” in January. The store is located at 10459 Tara Blvd., Suite 103, in Jonesboro.

Growing up in Memphis, Tenn., and spending most of her childhood summers in Chicago, where gourmet-style popcorn is the craze, Sherrer said she developed a knack for creating her own flavors.

“I just started coming up with all these different combinations of flavors in my head and was cooking it at home,” Sherrer said.

She serves more than 250 flavors of gourmet popcorn. She also sells candy caramel apples, candy and cupcakes. She said when business really starts to pick up she they will add pizza, nachos and hot dogs. But, popcorn will be the focus.

Sherrer said her top flavors are the Chicago-style — a mix of caramel, cheddar and buttery popcorn — and the adult flavors, pineapple coconut Rum, strawberry Mascot, and orange chocolate Vodka.

Sherrer added they have even named a few flavors after customers such as: Kenya’s Cherry Jack Daniel’s, Dee’s white chocolate and hot chocolate.

“I think what customers like best about our popcorn is that we cook everything fresh to order,” she said. She added she also likes to mix in Sneakers, Twix and other candy bars into her popcorn to create a unique flavor.

Sherrer said before venturing in the food business she worked in real estate for more than a decade.

“I was not happy working a 9-to-5 job,” Sherrer said. “I needed to do what I was passionate about and cooking was my passion.”

She said waking up each morning and going to work and being able to smell the fresh buttery popcorn saturate the air puts a smile on her face.

“It just feels great,” she said. “I have had people come in tell me they have never tried gourmet popcorn before and they are so glad I’m open. It really makes me feel good on the inside.”

However, she said the road was tough and risky along the way. Owning her own business was not unfamiliar. In fact, this would be the second business she has operated.

“It took a lot of faith,” she said. “I basically stepped out on a wing and a prayer.”

Nonetheless, she had the support of her husband, Eddie.

“I told her this was her baby and I would support in everything she wanted to do,” Eddie said.

The couple has been married for 13 years and has a 20-year-old son, and resides in Hampton. Eddie said when he’s not scheduled to work his job at MARTA he’s in the shop helping his wife cook and take orders from customers.

“Unfortunately, when you’re a new business everything costs money,” Sherrer said. “It can get stressful at times. It takes a lot of faith, focus, and hope.”

Sherrer said about 75 percent of her clientele are her church members. She attends Tabernacle of Praise Church International, in McDonough.

“I get a lot of support from the Christian community. They absolutely love my products.”

Aside from the sweet treats, Sherrer said she hosts open-mic nights and line dancing.

“With the sweets smells in the air, it creates a nice social atmosphere,” she said.