Gourmet popcorn and candy store satisfies local sweet teeth
For Christine Espinosa-Aller, Returning home to Northeast Florida meant a chance to create something new, unique and delicious while working in an environment she says makes her and her customers feel happy.
“The store makes people remember and reminisce about the old time candy shops they knew growing up. People just feel good when they’re here,” said Espinosa-Aller, co-owner of The Poppin Box, a gourmet popcorn, specialty soda and vintage candy shop that opened in late 2015 at Bartram Oaks Walk.
Espinosa-Aller grew up on the First Coast, but left years ago. She met her husband and business partner Jim Aller 15 years ago in Delaware. When Aller’s company recently offered him a chance to relocate for a position in Jacksonville, Espinosa-Aller saw an opportunity for a new beginning back where she began.
“I’ve spent my career in painting, design and decorating, but I’ve always dabbled in the kitchen,” she said. “We got the idea for this business while living in Texas. I knew there wasn’t anything like it in this part of Florida.”
The Poppin Box, now gearing up for its first St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, features a dizzying array of flavored popcorn made from scratch each day in the store — in flavors like banana, bacon, pickle and pumpkin. The Poppin Box uses original recipes and real ingredients like coconut oil, chocolate and natural cheese. They also offer a wide variety of vintage candies and specialty sodas.
Espinosa-Aller’s background as an artist helped too. She designed the store’s logo and she creates custom labels and bags for the gift baskets she sells. The Poppin Box also features a variety of old-fashioned candies and gifts that Espinosa-Aller features in customized bundles for personal and corporate gifts, fundraisers and events like weddings, retirement parties and other celebrations.
“I’m a people person, and this was always about community for me,” Espinosa-Aller said. “I love seeing our customers have the experience of shopping in our store,and that look in their eyes when they see something they remember from their childhood that they thought no longer existed. I love watching them look through our menu and the surprise they show when they realize they can get popcorn in flavors they never imagined they could.”
The Poppin Box is located at 116 Bartram Oaks Walk, #102. Visit www.thepoppinbox.com for more information.
Photo courtesy Daigle Creative
Jim Aller and Christine Espinosa-Aller in The Poppin Box at Bartram Walk.