Shaheen visits Popzup for Small Business WeekMay 01, 2017
By Nik Beimler
DOVER — A local business kicked off Small Business Week Monday by welcoming U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, for a tour of its facility in the mill building at 1 Washington Street.
Popzup founders and owners Marty and Julie Lapham created a new way to microwave popcorn that they say is much healthier and better tasting than most microwave options.
“There’s a health risk, and there’s no overseeing force that cleans up microwave popcorn,” Julie Lapham said. “There’s all these hidden risks, and we just decided to figure out how to eliminate them.”
Julie said most microwavable popcorn bags contain carcinogens in the form of chemicals, plastic and silicone. Popzup’s patented design uses a box that comes with 12 microwave bags of popcorn. One serving is placed in the box without a bag, is microwaved, and then flavored with separately-purchased seasoning. All ingredients are organic and natural, and the reusable microwave box is compostable.
Everything is produced out of its facility in the Washington Street mill building.
“Small businesses are really critical to our economy, not only in New Hampshire but across the country,” Shaheen said. “The fact that not only are (the Laphams) making a wonderful product, but they’re working in the community. ... There are all kinds of reasons why it’s nice to be here at Popzup this morning.”
Shaheen said the budget deal that national legislators agreed to on Sunday would increase funding to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) throughout the country.
“I was so worried about that,” Julie Lapham told Shaheen and representatives from the SBA and NHSBDC. “I don’t know what we would do without all of you guys.”
Lapham said the SBA and NHSBDC helped Popzup develop its business plan and secure grants and awards, which the company has used to expand its brand and develop new products, like a single-serving stovetop microwave option called the K-Pouch.
“I think this is just such a New Hampshire story,” said Rich Grogan, state director of the NHSBDC. “That we’re standing in a renovated mill building, we have a small business who’s been able to avail themselves of all of the resources available. ...This is really how it’s supposed to work.”
Shaheen also applauded the Laphams for working with Community Partners to employ adults with disabilities.
Popzup recently received a community development block grant (CDBG) from the City of Dover because of its work with Community Partners, and because of its plan to increase its collaboration with the organization.
“It works really well for our business because it’s a simple, repetitious task, and they love to do that,” Julie said. “They come in with a supervisor, so it frees us from having to manage them, and they do a terrific job.”
Shaheen said that the Donald Trump administration budget proposal would have zeroed out funding for CDBGs, but legislators did not follow that suggestion from the president. The senator said removing funding for CDBGs and similar grants would be disastrous for small businesses looking to grow.
Popzup started in late 2015, and moved into its current location in March 2016. For more information on the company, visit popzup.com.
By: Nik Beimler
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