The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, December 3, at DelMarVa Popcorn and Nut Company, located at 1001 North Walnut Street in Milford. The new business offers freshly popped popcorn featuring unique flavors as well as a variety of nut mixtures.
“I have been doing this at Farmers’ Markets for about 15 years,” says co-owner Mark Pena as he stirred a large vat of popcorn outside the shop prior to the ribbon cutting. “I started adding flavors about three years ago, but then I was diagnosed with cancer, so I took some time off. Once I was healthy again, my friends kept telling me I should open a store, and here we are.” Pena owns the business with his girlfriend, Michele Buckler.
The store features many unique popcorn flavors, including sweet ginger garlic, a favorite of Buckler’s mother. There is also artichoke parmesan, salsarific, pina colada, bacon, sour green apple and baked enchilada to name a few. Pena says that he uses what is known as butterfly popcorn for butter and other flavors, but chooses what is known as the mushroom variety for kettle and caramel corns as that type of popcorn holds sweet flavors better.
During the time he was ill, Pena says that an anonymous person provided him with funds, and because of that person’s generosity, he says he continues to pay it forward by supporting cancer awareness programs throughout the state.
“Someone was there to help me when I was in need, and I want to do the same for others,” Pena explained. Pena was the caretaker for his mother, who was blind and handicapped, and began his career in the popcorn industry because of his mother.
“I used to take her to flea markets, fairs and other events,” Pena explained. “She could smell the popcorn and it always drew her to those booths. We were at an event and we smelled popcorn, so I took her over to the booth. I was so impressed with the set up, I decided that I wanted to do this myself, and within a few weeks, I had a machine.” Councilman and Vice-Mayor, Doug Morrow, who attended the event for Mayor Ronnie Rogers, welcomed the business to Milford.
“We are very happy to have you here in Milford,” Councilman Morrow said. “I know it seems as if we focus a lot on downtown Milford, but I think we need to focus on the needs of business all over town. On behalf of City Council, I wish you the best of luck and great success.”
DelMarVa Popcorn and Nut Company is located on the corner of Northeast Tenth and Walnut Streets, directly across from the Dairy Queen.