By Jennifer Williams, Contributor, US Daily Review.
I am taking a short winter break and staying with a friend at a local resort. She has a membership and we have a cottage for a few days to chill out and get out of our routines. It’s near Port Clinton, Ohio. Tonight, it is chilly and sleeting outside. We went out to McCarthy’s Pub for dinner and experienced a bit of Ireland in Ohio. For a unique treat, get the Irish Nachos. It’s enough for a meal. Before heading to dinner, we went past the Great Lakes Popcorn Company.
I love popcorn. It’s high on the carb list but every so often, you MUST have popcorn dripping with butter and covered in sea salt. Sprinkle on some sugar for good measure and you have one of THE most perfect foods ever conjured up on the planet. Great Lakes Popcorn takes gourmet popcorn to the next level. I travel a lot and I’ve been to such wonderful small businesses across the United States and Canada but never a popcorn store quite like this place. The list of popcorn is not long but it is good – pineapple, peach, strawberry, black cherry, blueberry, bubble gum, pina colada, margarita, amaretto, caramel, English toffee, banana and jelly bean are some of the offerings. YES – jelly bean! There are also some seasonal selections and sweet mixes like the Columbus mix and chocolate drizzle. The most popular is vanilla butternut. And our gracious hostess dishes up samples. Now I love samples. Who doesn’t? One of the advantages to winter is that there was no one in the store. My friend Penny and I were alone and we were doled some ample samples. The jelly bean was fabulous. Jelly bean-flavored popcorn. It is sweet without being overly sweet. I also mixed the banana and English toffee in a bag. You could mix all the berry flavors, too. I left the store with two regular bags – one of Jelly Bean and one of English toffee and banana. I only had $10 in my pocket and I left my purse in the car…on purpose. Otherwise, I would have walked out with giant 36 inch bags of those flavors…and maybe a berry mix to boot. Port Clinton, home to the Annual Walleye Festival over Memorial Day weekend, is right on Lake Erie and Rt. 163 into town is lined with grand houses overlooking the lake, once owned by the wealthy of Cleveland and Toledo’s industrial and entrepreneurial barons. It is a picturesque place, even in winter.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of many communities. They provide customer service and products unmatched by the big boys. Each has their place in the economic engine of this country. And I was happy to provide a tiny drop of fuel for it. And did I mention they make great popcorn?
Jennifer Williams is adjunct faculty in American History at Ashland (OH) University and the American Public University System. She is also the teaching chef for the New Day Family Resource Center in Sandusky, Ohio. Her interests are photography and curling. She lives with her family in Norwalk, Ohio.