Northland Family Blends the Flavors of Kansas City

A few days before opening day of baseball this spring, Channing Doss was up to his elbows in blueberries and cheesecake. Those are the flavors of the specialty Kansas City Royals blend of gourmet popcorn he creates at his shop, Popculture, in the Parkville Commons shopping center.

In addition to simply cheering on our boys in blue, Doss was busy filling up 120 bags as a special treat from the executives at Aramark, the stadium’s food service vendor, to each of the Royals players and a number front office staff.

“It was just one of those things where an executive at Aramark found us and liked what we are doing and all of a sudden, we’re a part of opening day,” says Doss, who was particularly excited that his favorite Royal, Alex Gordon, would be getting a taste of his company’s creation.

A procurement professional in his past life, Doss switched his attention to popcorn last summer with the grand opening of Popculture.

“We were looking for a business idea and my wife, Stephanie, came up with the popcorn idea,” Doss says. “There’s nothing like it north of the river and people seem excited about it.”

In a town long dominated by Topsy’s, the Dosses believe that their family-owned business and popcorn popped fresh daily on site will appeal to locals. Popculture offers 68 flavors, including some you wouldn’t expect. Dill pickle, for example, is one of their top sellers. Otherwise birthday cake, s’mores and puppy chow are favorites with the Platte County crowd.

In addition to the blueberry/cream cheese blend for the Royals, Doss has created a cinnamon and caramel blend for the Chiefs, and similar flavors for KU, MU, K-State and Nebraska.

Hoping not to offend any ardent fans of either school, Doss would not say which university generates the most sales, but the blends have become a popular treat for wedding receptions.

Park Hill South High School students, whose colors are purple and black, have their own blend of grape and cheesecake. Cherry and cheesecake blend to match Park Hill High School’s red and black team colors.

The most common type of popcorn, the kind we pop in our microwaves and eat at the movie theater, is butterfly popcorn. It’s the best type for special seasonings, according to Doss.

But if you want a candied popcorn, you’ll be eating a rounded popcorn known as mushroom popcorn. It’s typically a little more expensive, but hold up better in the machines used for candy coating.

When Popculture opened, specialty candies and soft drinks were sold from the shelves that Doss made himself. Despite an intriguing selection, those items didn’t sell as well.

This summer, Pop Culture has installed freezer cases and is offering 20 flavors of ice cream instead. The company will also be participating in First Fridays in the West Bottoms.

Doss is consulting about popcorn with another entrepreneur in Beaumont, Texas. And by this time next year, there could be another Popculture located in Lincoln Nebraska.