Business keeps Sioux City popping for 100 years - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Business keeps Sioux City popping for 100 years

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - A lot has changed in 100 years, but one Sioux City company has remained loyal to their roots.

"Much like our brand name Jolly Time, it's a fun food. Popcorn's not all that serious," American Pop Corn Company President Garry Smith said.

Cousins Garry and Carlton Smith are no stranger to popcorn. The company that they now run was started by their great grandfather Cloid H. Smith 100 years ago, and then it was taken over by their grandfather, and fathers.

"This company runs through our blood," Garry Smith said.

"I think one thing that's helped us survive over the years is that we don't approach anything selfishly. The company comes first," American Pop Corn Company Chairman Carlton Smith said.

And, keeping this motto in mind, Jolly Time has been an innovator in the popcorn industry since it first started.

"We developed a can that was air tight and moisture proof, that in the '20s was a really big deal because no one had ever developed a container that would keep the corn at the right popping moisture," Garry Smith said.

In the early days, Smith said his relatives invented a patented corn crib to dry the kernels, in the 1950's, they started packaging in poly bags, but their biggest leap forward was in the 1980's when microwave popcorn was invented.

"We went from a very small, not very important category within a grocery store to a pretty important category when microwave popcorn became so widely, popular," Garry Smith said.

But, even since the '80's, it hasn't always been smooth sailing.

"We've had several ups and downs," Garry Smith said.

One of those challenges was a chemical in microwave popcorn linked to a lung ailment in plant workers. Years ago, the company removed this chemical from their products to make them safer for all, and over the years they've continued to evolve and create the best popcorn possible.

"We are always trying to be on the edge," Garry Smith said

Back in 1914, the Smiths' great grandfather produced 25,000 pounds of popcorn from his first crop. Fast forward 100 years, and they're at 60 million pounds and growing.

"Jolly Time popcorn is sold throughout the country in 50 states and 40 foreign countries," Carlton said.

But for the Smith's, Sioux City is home. And, they plan on passing on this jolly family legacy.

As a way for the nation to join in on their hundred year celebration, the company launched a national campaign..

It's called Kernels of Kindness. The Smiths are asking for people to go online to this website and  nominate individuals or organizations that do good deeds for people in their community.

They will be awarding $1,000 to 100 people. 

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