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Small Business exemplifies old business adage: Do one thing really well.

There are lots of sayings, theories and clichés about how to run a successful business. One I’ve heard many times is “Do one thing and do it well.”

While heading out of my hotel to a nearby Starbucks on Saturday morning in Chicago, I saw a line that I was relieved to find out was not for coffee. It was about 9:30 and the line of 20 or so people were waiting for popcorn. “What?” I wondered, “Why are people waiting for popcorn?”

The store sign said they opened at 10am. My husband, who used to live in Chicago said, “Oh yea, we’ll be in that line before the weekend is over.”

Garrett Popcorn has flourished since starting up in 1949. They have 5 Chicago stores and are still a family run business more than half a century later. In that time, they didn’t go for mass production and distribution(though you can now buy the popcorn online), maybe because they market their popcorn as fresh and hot, and they don’t want to risk losing quality. It’s an old fashioned storefront, and while the one I visited was in a tourist area, other locations are not. It’s a hometown favorite. So much so that Oprah named Garret Popcorn as one of her favorite things on a 2002 show. I’m sure that didn’t hurt their business any.

In the end, I can say this. It smells great. It is warm. The cheese is real cheesy. The caramel and nuts are the real deal. And it tastes great. Even waiting in the line was fun.

About the Author: Joan Isabella