AUSTIN, Texas — Soul Popped Gourmet Popcorn recently opened in Barton Creek Square, becoming the mall's first black-owned store front.
- Started in 2016
- Began selling at the farmers market
De J. Lozada started selling Soul Popped Popcorn back in 2016 after deciding nobody in the market was making popcorn in an original way.
"I found that I can flavor the popcorn and literally make it taste like food," Lozada said. "I've been a serial entrepreneur all my life. This is my first food business and I haven't looked back."
Lozada's flavors are inspired by her own soul food recipes. Original flavors like "Big Momma's Fried Chicken" and "The Real Dill Pickle" sold out fast when she started selling them at the farmer's market. With her new store in Barton Creek Square, Lozada said she has the space to really show off.
"I get to play a whole lot more," Lozada said. "We can do candied nuts, we have caramel now. It's just kind of open for what customers would like us to do and what we can provide."
As the first black storefront owners in Barton Creek Square, her presence is also big for the community. She said she hopes her success opens doors for others.
"When the next black business comes along, it’s not even a question of whether or not they can make it in this environment," she said. "We will have forged that path and proven that it can be done."
Soul Popped is open anytime the mall is open.