The Importance of Training, Timing, and Tenacity in Starting a Business

Sometimes life postpones getting a small start-up business off the ground, but for entrepreneurs like Tisha McCoy-Ntiamoah, letting an idea percolate and develop over time is perfect timing. What started as a part-time job making and selling gourmet popcorn as a high school student sparked a desire in Tisha to start a small business in the popcorn industry. And while Tisha took a few detours from that dream for an undergraduate degree in business, a career working as a sales representative for The Hershey Company, a graduate degree, and a stint as Director of James Madison University’s Orientation Office, she never abandoned the idea of opening her own company.

An ongoing relationship with the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center (SV SBDC) significantly helped Tisha eventually launch her popcorn company PrePOPsterous® in 2015. She took her first SV SBDC Start Smart Workshop in 2007, where she sketched out her business plan – a plan that she adjusted and revised over the years while waiting for the right time and right opportunity to launch the business. Tisha continued to take multiple small business seminars and workshops that the SBDC offers—one of them being “What’s Cooking,” a community-wide initiative created to assist, promote, and celebrate food-related businesses and entrepreneurs in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. The program allowed Tisha to revisit her business plan and answered many of her questions about launching an online business and cultivating a brand capable of competing with similar businesses in the area.

“The SBDC has been instrumental in helping me plan and differentiate my business from others in the area… I always discuss major decisions with my business advisor, Allison Dugan!” – Tisha

After completing the “What’s Cooking” program and consulting with Allison, Tisha was able to launch her online business with confidence. She now ships PrePOPsterous® popcorn products across the country to rave reviews like this:

“Love this popcorn! Dill is my current favorite summer snack and Gingerbread is so good at the holidays. But basically, my favorite is whichever one I’m munching at the moment. Great for a road trip, movie night, hostess gift, party favor, care package, and any other occasion. I can’t wait for my next package to arrive.”

In 2019 PrePOPsterous® won a Made in Virginia Award from Virginia Living magazine, and was one of only 24 winners selected from hundreds of submissions. A magazine staffer had this to say:

“I had so much fun trying these, I almost forgot to rate them! Well-coated and delicious. The gingerbread flavor is fantastic.”

The PrePOPsterous® story is definitely a great inspiration for all the would-be entrepreneurs with a business idea on the burner! Why not contact the Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center today to learn how to start your own business too?

Keeping Up with PrePOPsterous®

Now available at North River Marketplace 400 N Main Street, Bridgewater, VA! Come in to grab your favorite popcorn, or refill your tin. We offer up to 6 flavors, and smells are free!

You can also order their Absurdly Flavorful popcorn online for convenient local delivery, collection, or shipping direct to you.  Options include five different tin sizes, gift boxes, and almost 20 flavors. If you’re unsure of what to pick or intimidated by the myriad of flavors, order the PrePOPsterous® Sampler. As Tisha likes to say, “Ordering is simple… it’s figuring out what you want that’s the hard part!” Need a quick gift idea? One customer says it best:

“PrePopsterous is a perfect gift because it doesn’t require wrapping, it doesn’t require you to know a person’s size, and… well everyone loves popcorn!”

Follow PrePOPsterous ® on social media for more great popcorn ideas and visit their website for changes due to COVID.