Buckhead popcorn store opens in face of drought

11:48 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Kevin Peak opened Caja Popcorn in Buckhead in September. He's worried the drought will drive up popcorn prices next year.

ATLANTA -- The idea for a gourmet popcorn business popped into Kevin Peak's mind long before popcorn prices began making headlines.

He left a 20-year-career in the financial industry to become an entrepreneur last year.

"It was a pretty good leap," Peak said. "I was fortunate that my wife was supportive. She said that you need to find something you're passionate about."

Peak was two months away from the grand opening of Caja Popcorn in Buckhead, when he started to worry about the devastating drought in the Midwest.

"At first, I was thinking how bad can this be? It's going to be short-lived," Peak said. "But it kept getting worse and worse."

Peak stayed the course and opened the doors to his business in September, making small batches of fresh gourmet popcorn every day.

So far, the price he pays for these specialized kernels is holding steady, but he knows it's going up soon.

"I would hope it's only 5, 10 or 15 percent," Peak said. "I'm expecting it to go up more, but my suppliers haven't been able to give me that information yet."

In the meantime, he's buying a little extra with every order to avoid a possible shortage, and he's lining up multiple suppliers.

After a year of planning, Peak's determined to make his small business a success, despite the drought.

"I have to make this work," he said. 

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