Velvet Creme Popcorn, home of the original popcorn can

The aroma of freshly made popcorn and other treats fill The Velvet Creme Popcorn Company’s retail store. For over 60 years, Velvet Creme has been providing Johnson County residents with palate pleasing popcorn; yet, there is more to this business than mouth-watering goodies. This business is rich in taste and history.

Ken White at Velvet Creme in Westwood, circa 1960 Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8302

Ken White at Velvet Creme in Westwood, circa 1960
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8302

Dona and Howard “Pop” White had 10 dollars to their name after Howard lost his job in 1937. They came together with the idea of bringing quality, inexpensive popcorn to people’s homes. Halloween night Dona went door-to-door selling her homemade popcorn and customers loved it. Word spread and orders came in steadily. The White’s basement became the hub of their business. The name Velvet Creme came from the company’s motto, “smooth as velvet, rich as creme.” Becoming too large for the basement, the business now operates at 4710 Belinder Avenue, in Westwood, and has a staff of 13. During the busy holiday season, the staff increases to 60 to keep up with the demand.

Dona White at Velvet Creme in Westwood, circa 1980 Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8303

Dona White at Velvet Creme in Westwood, circa 1980
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8303

Family is key to the company’s success. Throughout the company’s history, it has remained family owned and operated. Kenneth White, son of Dona and Howard, was president of the company. Now, Kenneth’s daughter, Barbara Odle, has that title. The family created unique ways to package their popcorn. Dona and Howard’s daughter-in-law, Mary Lou, is credited with the idea of using cardboard to separate different flavors. Dona was the inventor of the 6 ½ gallon can which is standard in the popcorn industry.

Jean Dexter painting holiday designs on popcorn tins at Velvet Creme in Westwood, circa 1955 Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8301

Jean Dexter painting holiday designs on popcorn tins at Velvet Creme in Westwood, circa 1955
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8301

The good reputation of Velvet Creme spreads every year. Cable’s Food Network came to Johnson County to film the popcorn’s production and caused a whirlwind of publicity. With quality products and a strong family history, the future and popularity of the company is limitless.

Velvet Creme Carmel Popcorn Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/11782

Velvet Creme Carmel Popcorn
Original image: http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/11782

Original article from Johnson County Museum’s newsletter, ALBUM, vol. 16, no. 1 (winter 2003). http://www.jocohistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/jcm/id/8301

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