This article is presented in partnership with K&M Gourmet Popcorn.

The history of the quintessential snack popcorn goes back to American Indian culture—and elsewhere around the globe—well before Pilgrims landed in the New World. This simple snack, made by applying heat to a kernel of corn, caught the imagination of Kyle King, owner of K&M Gourmet Popcorn in Chillicothe, in 2011, and he has been creating a bounty of modern flavors ever since.

Kyle learned the roots of the business from Bill and John Kennebeck, then-owners of K&W Popcorn in Trenton before stepping out on his own to make his mark in the business in 2018.

“John has been my mentor in starting the business,” Kyle says. “I learned a lot of the business ethics from him and the importance of putting the customer first.” Kyle also credits his stepdad, Chad Shaw, for teaching him the importance of having a strong work ethic when it comes to running a business, and says he wants to make Chad and his two-year-old son, Liam, proud. Liam is his reason why.

At K&M, that customer-first purpose is fulfilled each time Kyle hears his customers’ reaction to his popcorn, especially when they find a flavor odd or interesting, then they try it and enjoy it. K&M popcorn is handcrafted and made onsite. Best known for its Cheese, Caramel, and Cinnamon flavors, offerings run the gamut from Dill Pickle to Ghost Pepper to Birthday Cake flavors, and of course, Kettle Corn.

Kyle King

Kyle admits he, too, has a favorite when he has the chance to indulge a little. It’s Miles Specialty, a sweet and salty mix of caramel and cheese popcorn. 

All of the flavor recipes are uniquely developed to have a K&M flair to them. Currently, the company features nearly forty flavors of popcorn. Ideas come from extensive market research on both trending popcorn flavors and other snack flavors they can apply to popcorn. Customers also provide suggestions that become hits as well. During the holiday season, a handful of limited-time flavors surface — Caramel Apple, Chocolate-Covered Cherry, Spiced Apple Cider, Pumpkin Mix, and the cheese, caramel, and cinnamon Holiday Mix — but customers also gravitate toward a year-round customer favorite: Vanilla Butternut with Pecans.

Kyle finds that many families buy popcorn as a tradition for holidays and other special events, and says they take pride in knowing K&M Gourmet Popcorn is a part of their customers’ traditions. “We like to think we aren’t in the popcorn business,” he says, “but that we are in the business of making people happy in our unique way … through our popcorn.”