Our Story | Shirley's Gourmet Popcorn Franchise

Our Story

Shirley Torsell

Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Company was created in 2009 by Kim and Pete Suter, owners of the Shannon Theatre in Bluffton, Ohio. This single-screen family theatre is known for its popcorn - specifically, its loyal group of customers who continue to stop by and purchase popcorn to take home without even staying to watch a movie. The Shirley’s brand was born from that tradition, and named in honor of long-time theatre box office attendant Shirley Torsell. From there, significant groundwork was laid in graphic design, store layout, and (of course!) recipes that would later become hallmarks of one of our area’s most remarkable small business success stories.

The 2012 development and launch of our franchising program remains the biggest step in our growth thus far, focusing the design of our stores, strengthening the brand, and recruiting several key members to our outstanding leadership team. In September 2014 a second corporate store was launched in The Shops at Fallen Timbers, an outdoor destination mall in greater Toledo.

Our main focus moving forward is in controlling and supporting growth, especially after the achievement of milestones including the introduction of Caramel To Die For popcorn, a proprietary, signature flavor that serves as the foundation of many of our products and is available only in Shirley’s stores.

Our Flagship Store in Bluffton, Ohio