Garrett Popcorn Celebrates a Milestone

In 1949, Gladys Otto Garrett started selling caramel popcorn in a small shop in Chicago. Today, the company she founded sells popcorn in countries around the world. 

Every year, people in the United States consume an estimated 17 billion quarts of popcorn. This favorite snack, which can be made with a variety of flavors, is celebrated each year on National Popcorn Day, January 19.

Popcorn also happens to be the state snack in my home state of Illinois. Our state is one of the leading producers of popcorn worldwide.


Flavors available at Garrett Popcorn Shops include Buffalo Ranch, CaramelCrisp, and CheeseCorn. 


To get the “inside scoop” on popcorn, I contacted Lindsay Alberti. She is the director of marketing for Garrett Popcorn Shops in Chicago, Illinois.

“In 2024, we will be celebrating our 75th year of business since our founder, Gladys Otto Garrett, brought her secret family recipes to Chicago and opened her first shop at 10 West Madison Street,” Alberti told me via email. 

Garrett Popcorn Shops still makes popcorn the way they did in 1949. Kernels are popped in small batches throughout the day in copper kettles. Each batch is mixed by hand.

What started as a single shop in Chicago is now global. Garrett ships popcorn to countries around the world. “Fans can ship Garrett Popcorn across the U.S.,” Alberti noted. “They can also visit shops in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and Korea.” 

Garrett Popcorn offers several flavors, but the Garrett Mix stands out. “Our fans invented our world-famous Garrett Mix recipe, which blends CaramelCrisp with savory CheeseCorn,” Alberti told me. “Back in the 1970s, they would request both recipes and an extra bag to mix them in. We listened to their insatiable snacking demands and officially added the Garrett Mix to the menu in 1977.”


The original recipe for Garrett’s caramel popcorn came from a family popcorn-making competition. 


Garrett Popcorn Shops appreciates the support they get from the community. In return, they contribute to several local organizations, including Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and breast cancer awareness efforts. 

“It has always been important for us to support the communities we serve, which is why we created Garrett Cares, our social impact program,” Alberti said.

From its humble beginnings, Garrett has helped bring the Illinois state snack to the world. The company also works to give back to the community and Garrett fans. As Alberti said, “We would not be where we are today without them.” 

Photos courtesy of Garrett Popcorn Shops