Dave’s Popcorn will remain a nostalgic staple in south Minneapolis, thanks to a local family’s purchase of the 58-year-old popcorn and ice cream shop.
All week, customers have lined up outside the shop to buy popcorn and to celebrate the shop’s continued stay on E. 38th Street. It was for sale for about a month before it was sold to Andy Gray and his family.
Gray, 38, a pastor at Urban Refuge, a nondenominational Christian church in Minneapolis, finalized the purchase of the shop Monday and started training to run the business soon afterward. His family spent 30 hours this week learning about the shop’s well-loved sweet and savory popcorn recipes from its previous owners.
Gray, who purchased the shop for about $95,000, said he’s been waiting for three years to buy it. In 2012, he asked the owners about it, but they weren’t quite ready to sell, he said. So when Gray saw on the Dave’s Popcorn Facebook page that the shop was for sale, he jumped in.
“I would have driven by for the next 20 years thinking, ‘I wish I would have done that,’ ” he said. “We decided to take a leap of faith, and jump and see what happens.”
Gray, along with his wife and three teenagers, will keep the shop open from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. And while the previous owners closed the shop before Labor Day, the Grays plan to keep its open past September.
Former owner Sherri Shannon-Neary said she and her family could no longer balance their full-time jobs with managing the shop.
“It will be nice for the customers because it will stay open longer,” she said. “We hope they succeed.”
A legacy of love
Gray recalls growing up in a small Michigan town that had similar quaint shops. He said he had long wanted buy his own.
His 18-year-old son, Isaiah, said he’s excited to learn about running a business, especially one with such a local legacy.
“Within the past couple days since we’ve started, we’ve had people come up and tell us stories of this place,” he said. “Other jobs, you show up and go home. … Here your interactions always mean something.”
Gray and his family don’t plan to change any of the original Dave’s recipes, like the herb popcorn. Gray said he might add some offerings, such as a peanut-butter topping for the ice cream.
And even though Shannon-Neary’s family no longer will be running the shop, she still plans to stop by occasionally to buy popcorn and visit with its loyal customers.
Sandy Oberts, 68, said she drives from St. Louis Park with her family to buy Dave’s caramel corn at least three times a month. Like many loyal customers, Oberts became close to the Shannon-Neary family, and this weekend she’ll stop by to meet the new owners.
“We want to let them know that they will still have our business,” she said. “They have the best caramel corn ever. My granddaughter can’t eat caramel corn anywhere else because it is so good.”