The Planet Popcorn Story


Planet Popcorn The Story

The Planet Popcorn Story

How It Began In 1999

Every business has a story, and Planet Popcorn’s story is one of continued success beyond the wildest dreams of its founder; Sharla McBride. From a single enterprising one-woman popcorn machine, Planet Popcorn has grown into a multimillion dollar brand employing 50 popcorn team members in locations ranging from NASCAR, to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, to your local county fair.

Sharla had no idea that she would one day become a popcorn entrepreneur. While working as a full-time court reporter, she was introduced to kettle corn for the first time. In 1999, while camping with some close friends, Sharla had her first taste of the salty-sweet kettle-cooked popcorn flakes, and she instantly became hooked on its unique flavor. She purchased a popcorn machine and learned how to make the treat herself.

In true entrepreneurial spirit, Sharla began selling her kettle corn on the weekends as a second job while still continuing to work in law. Her business back then was called The Kettle Corn Hut, and she found it a fun way to make some extra money and meet new people in her spare time. Even when she got her first contract with Ovations Food Service to sell her kettle corn at the Orange County Fair (in Orange County, CA) in early 2000, she had not yet had the life-changing epiphany that would cause her to transformation her career.

Disneyland — The Greatest Place On Earth

Sharla’s big break came in October of 2005, when she landed her first contract to open a Popping Fresh kettle corn cart in Downtown Disneyland (in Anaheim, CA). It was at Disneyland that she sold The Kettle Corn Hut popcorn to thousands of hungry and happy visitors every day. The business quickly blossomed from a part-time hobby to a much greater success, so Sharla quit her court reporting job the following April to become a full-time Disneyland “popcorn lady.” A second Popping Fresh concession stand quickly followed; opening in Downtown Disneyland in November of 2006. The new location became the main attraction of caramel corn popcorn lovers, a new flavor for the company and a personal favorite of her growing popcorn fan-base at Disneyland. The same year Planet Popcorn was officially born with the legal name change to Planet Popcorn, Inc.

With the rave reviews Sharla received at Disneyland, new doors of opportunity were quickly opening for Planet Popcorn. The Orange County Fair (in Orange County, CA) contracted Planet Popcorn for its 2008 event, for which the first Planet Popcorn custom gourmet popcorn trailer was built. From the new Planet Popcorn trailer, Sharla fed thousands of popcorn loving fair goers. Planet Popcorn has since become the favorite flavored popcorn vendor at the Los Angeles County Fair (in Los Angeles, CA), the Del Mar Fair (in San Diego, CA), the Fresno County Fair (in Fresno, CA) and the Alameda County Fair (in Alameda, CA), among many other events throughout California, Arizona and Nevada.

In 2009, just 10 years after Sharla purchased her first popcorn machine; Planet Popcorn became a multimillion dollar flavored popcorn company, greatly exceeding any expectations she had for her small hobby business. A third kiosk was added to Downtown Disney during the same year. From it, Planet Popcorn sold gourmet funnel cakes and crepes in an extension of the delicious flavored popcorn offered by the company.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Home of NASCAR
O.Co – Home of the Oakland A’s & Oakland Raiders

In 2013, Levy Restaurants teamed up with Planet Popcorn to sell delicious bags of their gourmet flavored popcorn at at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (in Las Vegas, NV), where Planet Popcorn flavored popcorn joined a menu lineup that could appease even the most discriminating of gourmands. Planet Popcorn’s brand recognition continued to grow as more people sank their teeth into Sharla’s gourmet recipes in this popular arena location.

In 2014, Planet Popcorn launched our brand new website at, with all of our products and flavors. We launched our new company logo to kick off our new branding campaign which included newly designed product bags and of course our newly designed website. In 2014 Planet Popcorn secured several new contracts with sporting arenas including O.Co, home of the Oakland A’s and Oakland Raiders (in Oakland, CA). Other popular locations continue to launch Planet Popcorn into orbit as a leader in the flavored popcorn and carnival snack food industries. Hundreds of thousands of visitors to Disneyland and other Southern California destinations from all over the globe have discovered and enjoyed the out-of-this-world flavor of Planet Popcorn, and now through the delicious snacks can be shipped everywhere.

National Association of Professional Women

Planet Popcorn prides itself on being a 100-percent woman-owned American small business. Sharla McBride is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, and her business model is incredibly simple: Use only fresh, high-quality ingredients to make the most delectable popcorn possible, and keep buyer costs reasonable and competitive. The continued success of the company is dependent upon on the hard work and dedication of all of Planet Popcorn’s employees, each of whom Sharla highly values for their contributions. The company is proud to give back to the community, as well. Visit the Giving Back page to learn more about Planet Popcorn’s charitable donations.

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