WILMINGTON, Del. – Fisher’s Popcorn, which has produced hand-crafted gourmet popcorn in Delaware for 40 years, has chosen Frankford, Delaware, as the location for a new $4.85 million facility that will more than quadruple space for its manufacturing and wholesale operations.
The company’s current production facility in Fenwick Island, Delaware, is approximately 2,000 square feet, and the new 17-acre site on Delaware Route 20 just off the U.S. Route 113 corridor is almost 10,000 square feet. The additional space will allow Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware to utilize new equipment – including two kettles and a large packaging machine – that will increase production capacity many times over. For example, bag-packing capabilities will rise from eight bags per minute to 30 to 35 bags per minute.
Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware currently has 22 full-time employees staffing its manufacturing, retail, wholesale and e-commerce operations, all of which are in Sussex County. The company plans to create 20 additional wholesale jobs at the new site over the next three years.
“Fisher’s Popcorn has been a part of the Delaware beach experience and the Sussex County business community for 40 years, and we’re glad the company has chosen to expand here for its next phase of growth,” said Governor John Carney. “Delaware is a great place for manufacturing. This new facility will enable Fisher’s Popcorn to better serve its existing customers and grow its production and wholesale operations.”
Fisher’s Popcorn was founded in Ocean City, Maryland, in 1937, and a branch of the founder’s family began operating Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware independent from the original company in 1983. Still family-owned and -operated, Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware has retail shops in the resort towns of Fenwick Island, Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach. The company also sells its products online and in more than 2,000 grocery stores across the United States, including many Giant, Weis, Food Lion and Fresh Market locations.
Fisher’s Popcorn officials presented to Delaware’s Council on Development Finance an application for a Jobs Performance Grant of $60,000 and a Capital Expenditure Grant of $145,500 from the Delaware Strategic Fund to support the company’s investment in construction, fit-out costs and new equipment.
Distribution of grants from the Delaware Strategic Fund are dependent on the company meeting commitments as outlined to the CDF, which reviewed and approved Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware’s request for up to $205,500 in total grant funding.
“We’re very grateful for the opportunity to expand our operations while still being part of our local community here in Delaware,” said Vice President Russell Hall, who runs the company’s wholesale and e-commerce divisions. “This expansion will enable us to bring the classic flavors of the Delaware beach resorts to more people around the country while adding quality jobs in Sussex County. The grant assistance from the state is a key component to making this happen.”
Delaware Prosperity Partnership began helping Fisher’s Popcorn explore how it could continue to grow in Delaware in 2022. Providing additional assistance throughout the site search and other location processes was Bill Pfaff, director of economic development for Sussex County.
“We are so excited that Fisher’s Popcorn’s new manufacturing facility is calling Sussex County its home,” Pfaff said.
Delaware Prosperity Partnership (choosedelaware.com) leads Delaware’s efforts to attract, grow and retain businesses; build a stronger entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem; and support employers in place-marketing Delaware to potential employees. Collaborating with economic development partners throughout the state, the DPP team works with site selectors, executives and developers focused on where to locate or grow a business and helps with reviewing potential sites, cost-of-living analyses and funding opportunities, including available tax credits and incentives. DPP advances a culture of innovation in Delaware, working with innovators and startups to connect them with resources and showcase their successes. DPP and its partners support and advance the missions of companies of all sizes and sectors.
Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware (fishers-popcorn.com) got its start in 1937, when Everett Fisher began making and selling copper kettle caramel popcorn on the Ocean City Boardwalk in Maryland. More than 40 years later, Everett’s granddaughter, Marty Fisher Hall, and her husband, Bill, opened the first Fisher’s Popcorn store in Delaware. Today – independent of the Maryland operations since 1983 – the Halls and their children run production and e-commerce operations and Fenwick Island, Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach retail locations along with a wholesale division launched in 2012. Each batch of Fisher’s Popcorn is still made now as it was in 1937, but a wide variety of flavors have been added, including Caramel with Peanuts, Butter-Flavored, White Cheddar, Old Bay®-Seasoned Caramel, Kettle Corn, Caramel Dusted with White Cheddar and the seasonal flavor Caramel Pumpkin Spice.