Skip to Content

We Have a Story to Tell

Our history is as rich as our house-made fudge, sweetened by our neighbors throughout Illinois for more than 85 years. We’ve created something special at Del’s Popcorn Shop, and the time has come to share this unique popcorn and candy shop franchise model with the rest of the Midwest …and beyond.

“And the smell of caramel corn, boy-oh-boy, you should be here when the caramel smell hits Merchant Street at five o’clock when the stores are closing. They line up for it.”

– Del Barnett in the wake of WWII

In 1934, a young entrepreneur by the name of John Baldwin opened a tiny confectionery at 145 North Main Street in downtown Decatur, Illinois. Mr. Baldwin was a type-printer by trade. He ran his printing business in the basement of the confectionery he called “The Popcorn Shop.” A simple name for one simply delicious product. It was a delicacy for a city recovering from the Great Depression.

An evening visit with his friend Del Barnett resulted in a turn of events. In 1945, Del leased The Popcorn Shop from Mr. Baldwin. In 1952, he purchased it, and finally changed the name to Del’s Popcorn Shop in about 1960.

Fast-forward to today, where the brand has expanded through a variety of family members, product offerings and geographic areas. Del’s Popcorn Shop is still as grand an idea for a business as it was over a century ago. Its proof is in its staying power, as wonderful today as it was in 1934.

Imagine a Del’s Popcorn Shop of your own in a charming historic district, or a modern end cap with a drive-thru option. The possibilities are practically endless – and timeless! Your customers will see (and smell) the popcorn being popped in the dry popcorn popper, they’ll sit and stay awhile, taking in the local color and flavor you’ve added to the Del’s Popcorn Shop nostalgia.

The scrumptious reasons customers will keep coming back to your popcorn and candy shop franchise:

  • Over 40 different flavors of freshly popped corn – no seasonings or glazes over stale pre-made popcorn!
  • Six varieties of fudge made in-house
  • Seven different types of freshly roasted nuts, three varieties of cinnamon!
  • Assorted gummi, novelty and sugar-free candies
  • Divine chocolates
  • A host of seasonal items, including:
    • Chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day
    • Caramel apples for Halloween
  • Ice cream, beverages, cookies (selection varies by location)
Founders Video
old popcorn store franchise
Merchant Street, 1966
dels business franchise history
North Main Street, 1946
The store is run on a nostalgia basis. People bring in their kids, who in turn, bring in their kids. They say, ‘This looks like it did when I was here last.’ They like to see a place that hasn’t changed much. – Bob Barnett (Del Barnett’s brother)
Back to top