Stefan Coker, Co-founder of What’s Pop-in says when he and his partner Dave Whelan went into the popcorn industry Coker's grandfather said are you going to get into the popcorn industry to be in the industry or are you going to get into the popcorn industry to take over the industry?
Coker says black truffle is his favorite flavor, probably because that’s what started them. He says their chef backgrounds help with pairing and the marrying of seasonings. He says they aren’t going to stop until their popcorn is a household name all over the world
Mel Camp tells Coker she read a statistic that black entrepreneurs are less likely to ask for investment in their business. Historically, like systemic racism, has meant that people haven’t been able to get loans. So, there is that inherent idea that there is no point asking because it hasn’t historically been something that has been worth asking for. Coker says he agrees with her 100%. He says he has a pride issue and he doesn’t like asking for help; it is a hard thing for him. He goes on to says coming up you just didn’t do that. He has had some experiences in the business, where we have had some people just have a misconception of who he was, and he feels that shows ignorance.
When asked did it click for you that just being true to yourself had value, Coker says he had a rough personal life. He says he thinks his divorce, separation with his children and realizing where his life was headed as a chef really inspired him to open up more and talk about his life as opposed to we all bury the things that kill us; we are all running from pain. He says he is the first to tell you he is running from pain every day. He goes on to say he realizes now it is important to share it. He says it goes hand-in-hand with the business. He thinks that’s why they do what they do and why they hustle so hard and why he says what he says. and he realizes you just have to open up more. Coker says he wants to be a great father and wants his kids to see that he did it. He never wants to let them down. Stephan's kids are already getting into the business. His seven year old daughter has her own very popular flavor.