The bold purple and black color scheme, the neon lights, the savory smell of buttery popcorn and the hum from the lemonade and SoulSkins machines combine for a multi-sensory adventure right away. The buzz is fully matched by the effervescence of SoulPopped proprietor, De J. Lozada, who greets each customer as if she’s welcoming them to her living room for a personal visit.
It’s a place where people are reminded that they are loved.
“Soul Popped is not just a popcorn company. It’s a place where people are reminded that they are loved.” This philosophy was borne out in a recent visit soulciti paid to the store.
Standing in line to treat his daughter to some flavored popcorn, Brian Scartucci’s voice struck a chord with Lozada, who had never met him before. In minutes, the standing line became a stage and those around were treated to a mini-concert. Shortly after that, a local businessman was identified as a kind soul and shared about the giving that he does as part of his work.
Moments later a young lady noticed the caramel cooling for a pending batch of caramel corn and a conversation ensued about how her mother’s infamous caramel apples might be incorporated into the store’s offerings. Currently, Soul Popped offers gourmet popcorn, ready-made or with custom-blended flavoring, SoulSkins, its own version of chicharrones and homemade lemonade.
“I started Soul Popped with $53 in the bank, so if I can do it after so many setbacks, anybody can!” Lozada exclaimed as she reflected on the humble beginning of the business in 2016. As one who always loved popcorn and experimenting with different flavors, the product is a natural outcome of her creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and joy in social interaction.
Soul Popped is an unapologetically black business in a white space,
“With me, a Soul Popped purchase is not just a transaction, but a relationship. Offering this popcorn is my way of showing love.” Hang around for just a few minutes and you’ll see for yourself that she truly believes this.
Soul Popped is an “unapologetically black business in a white space,” Lozada proclaimed, pointing out the Afrocentric decor and playlist piped through the speakers. Now, she looks forward to the day when she transitions from being the “only” black-owned business in Barton Creek Mall to the “first.” “I want the whole community to be proud of me and to follow in my footsteps.”