BOWIE – While Myra Weston’s days used to be filled with music, now her ears, and those of her customers, are filled with the sounds of popcorn popping. The owner of Myra’s Popcorn Kitchen, located in the food court at Bowie Town Center, is a personable popcorn guru who re-opened her establishment in Bowie approximately […]
BOWIE – While Myra Weston’s days used to be filled with music, now her ears, and those of her customers, are filled with the sounds of popcorn popping.
The owner of Myra’s Popcorn Kitchen, located in the food court at Bowie Town Center, is a personable popcorn guru who re-opened her establishment in Bowie approximately four months ago after giving the popcorn business a try in Anne Arundel County during previous years. But before becoming an entrepreneur and making fresh gourmet popcorn daily, the Bowie resident worked with notable music artists such as The Isley Brothers, Tina Turner and Luther Vandross.
Weston is one of several business owners who have recently moved into the food court, and they hope shoppers will take notice of the new offerings now available.
“Everybody here (except two businesses with management and menu changes) is new,” Weston said. “Everyone in here has an incredible menu. People haven’t come because they’re so used to what they thought was here a long time ago. Well, they’re all gone now. It’s a whole new group of people.”
Weston worked as a promotional and marketing director in the music industry for 25 years, but when music began to change drastically, Weston opted to no longer work for record companies.
In her early 40s, she made a decision to pursue something different. A move to Chicago introduced her to the idea that popcorn is much-loved by its fans. Weston eventually began to set her sights on working for herself and settled in this area.
Weston likes to share her story with customers, hoping to provide some encouragement alongside the snacks.
“I love talking to people. I even love inspiring people, because a lot of people go, ‘oh, wow,’ when they find out and know my story,” Weston said with a smile. “I made a lot of changes, which just goes to show you that if you really want it, you can do anything you want to, and nothing should stop you, ever.”
Weston puts a lot of care into her popcorn itself as well, offering everything from Wisconsin Cheddar and tender butter popcorn to delectable combinations of caramel popcorn. Weston said the pecans she uses for her popcorn creations come from Georgia. In her cheese and caramel popcorn, the cheese she uses comes from Wisconsin.
“I am literally using Land O’Lakes Butter. I’m using real sugar. I’m using real cream and everything else that goes in my popcorn to make it as rich as it is,” Weston said.
Customers like Dianne Cee took note, and now routinely come to purchase Weston’s delicious, addictive popcorn.
“I do like popcorn. I come in here once a week and usually get two boxes. One for myself and one for my mother, because my mother is a popcorn connoisseur,” Cee said. “I happened to find (Weston) here. I hadn’t been to the food court in a while. I guess (Bowie Town Center) just did renovations on the food court, because it was a little sad.”
Cee also believes in supporting small businesses like Myra’s Popcorn Kitchen. She said she would buy from Weston before spending her money on popcorn any place else. Weston even ships popcorn and offers thank you gifts, popcorn buffets, birthday gifts and various special occasion services.
Despite repeat customers and a growing referral base, some foodies are still unaware that Myra’s Popcorn Kitchen and the other newer, small businesses have set up shop at Bowie Town Center’s Food Court. The lineup of food choices includes Jamaican, Chinese, Lebanese, soul food, pizza, pretzels, and even smoothies.
Thomas Dupee, owner of TAMO Smoothies (These Are My Obsessions Smoothies), recently celebrated his one year anniversary of being in business at the food court. Dupee said his freshly made smoothies are crafted without dairy and with loads of fruit.
“What we do here is we make delectable, layered fruit smoothies. We have two types of smoothies on our menu,” Dupee said. “One is a no sugar added smoothie where we blend our house blend of five fruits for you and then the three ways to have that fruit blend is the fruit blended by itself, the fruit blended with spinach and/or kale, or you can get what we call the Half and Half.”
The Half and Half contains fruit blended with the spinach and kale mixed with an equal portion of fruit blended by itself.
Novelty drinks, such as Pretty Girl Swag topped with fresh fruit, are the most popular seller, Dupee said.
“The novelty drinks are sweet and basically we have 13 different layers of smoothie that we layer in a cup for you. You can customize your cup with your favorite combinations,” he said.
About five years ago, Dupee came up with the concept of layering smoothies in his kitchen at home. He began sharing pictures of his fruity creations on social media, and then people started asking where they could purchase them.
“One huge draw that people not just come for, but come back for over and over again, is on Friday we have something special called our ‘Five Dollar Fridays.’ Our 16-ounce smoothie is $5 on Fridays, every Friday,” Dupee said. “Also (on Fridays) you can get any other cup size, any other kind of smoothie for $2 off, and that’s a big draw to people.”
As the 2016 holiday season progresses, Bowie Town Center Food Court’s small business owners would welcome more foot traffic and more customers.
“People are now starting to come. Slowly they’re starting to come,” Weston said. “But they’re really missing the boat if they don’t come, because there’s some really good food in here right now.”