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Adding some zest to an American classic page 2
The Popcorn Bag, a new shop specializing in gourmet popcorn in a wide variety of flavors, has opened at 1711 Princess Anne St.

 Jim Ford pours homemade buffalo sauce on a batch of fresh popcorn at the newly opened Popcorn Bag, which offers sweet and savory popcorn flavors.
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Date published: 1/6/2013

By Cathy Jett


The finished product, which the Houston shop advertises as "absolutely addicting!" on its website, is stored in large plastic containers until customers place their orders. A snack size bag of one of the savory flavors costs $2.35 and a family size is $12.95. Other sizes, including small for $2.95 and junior for $3.95, are available as well. Prices for caramel corn and specialty flavors are slightly higher.

The Fords can also create popcorn favors for weddings and other special events such as New Year's Eve parties, and set up a candy bar so guests can scoop up the sweet and savory treats and munch them at their tables.

Jim Ford said they chose their location, which is on the first floor of The Inn at the Old Silk Mill complex, partly because the rent was more affordable than anything they could find downtown. The inn also gets a lot of wedding and special events business, and the location is visible to people driving by on Princess Anne Street.

"We just have to get them to stop," he said.

The Popcorn Bag isn't the Fords' only venture. They also own The Balloonapalooza, a decor design firm specializing in balloon art. Helen Ford had taken a few classes in creating balloon decorations before she and her husband attended a balloon art convention in Atlanta last August. He got hooked.

"Balloon decor is not just columns and arches," Jim Ford said. "We can do themes. For a birthday party, I built a Darth Vader with a head and huge arms and a body."

Ford, a trumpet player who had run the Marines' music program at the Pentagon, also created a motorized solar system made of balloons and PVC pipe for the University of Mary Philharmonic Orchestra's Masterwork's concert last October. The concert's centerpiece was Gustav Holst's "The Planets."

He teaches music at UMW and regularly plays the trumpet at several area assisted living centers and at Wegmans every other month. Helen Ford, who used to run a massage therapist school in Houston, is the sales manager at the Massage Envy in Dumfries, and helps with the couple's two businesses on her days off.

"We're empty nesters who've remarried," Jim Ford said. "We're starting over, combining everything from our previous lives in one pot and enjoying it."

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407
Email: cjett@freelancestar.com

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