Editor’s note: Made in Tarrant is an occasional Q&A series on small businesses started in Tarrant County. Submit your business here.

Pixie Pop Popcorn

Who? Kelly Girnas, owner of Pixie Pop Popcorn 

When? Girnas started her business in 2020 when her previous corporate job in hospitality came to a halt. 

Where? Girnas is based in Mansfield but does not have a storefront. She makes custom orders. 

What? Pixie Pop Popcorn offers a selection of sweet and savory popcorn. Girnas can cater to corporate meetings, promotional events, holiday parties and other celebrations. 



Phone: 469.442.8969

Email: pixiepopinfo@gmail.com

IG: www.instagram.com/pixieispoppin

Kelly Girnas, owner of Pixie Pop Popcorn, spoke with the Fort Worth Report about starting her business during the COVID-19 pandemic and her passion for cooking. This interview has been edited for length, clarity and grammar.  

Sandra Sadek: Can you share how Pixie Pop Popcorn came to be?

Kelly Girnas: I started it a couple of months into the pandemic. I worked as a contractor in corporate hospitality. I would assist corporations and meeting planners on-site with pharmaceutical conventions, arrivals at the airport and that kind of thing. And of course, when COVID-19 happened, that all totally stopped because nobody was traveling or working much. 

The previous year… I had started experimenting with flavored popcorn. So my family and friends after COVID said, ‘Why don’t you try to start a popcorn business?’  And I thought ‘Well, with COVID and everything…’ but then I started thinking about it. I thought, ‘Well, why not? I have the time.’ 

So I started experimenting with different flavors and things like that during that time. 

At the time, my husband got sick… in May of 2021. Once he got out [of the hospital], it seemed like he was getting better and I entered a contest put on by the IT Crowd Agency, a PR agency in Dallas… They were looking for small businesses that started during COVID-19… This was supposed to be free for six months but they actually did it for a year because my husband got sick again and ended up in the hospital… They knew I was struggling. Unfortunately, he was in the hospital for over a year and passed away… 

Sadek: How do you come up with the flavors for your business?

Girnas: I’ve always loved cooking and creating and doing things like that. I grew up with the Pop Rocks, and I don’t know, it just seemed like a natural thing to me. And it’s funny because kids love it, but adults love it [too]… 

I have fun with the flavors because I’m one of those people that when I cook, I like to throw things together. And so I think the popcorn, too, is almost like a blank slate. You can make it sweet or savory. And it’s just so much fun to just come up with different flavors and also to be part of people’s celebrations. Because I do weddings and events, and they’ll do like a tasting bar — and to see people taste something and enjoy it, it means a lot to me. It goes beyond the business. It’s just almost like you’re making people happy and it might sound corny, but I really enjoy doing that. 

Sadek: Are you working in the kitchen alone to make the popcorn?

Girnas: I have friends that helped me but as far as employing anybody right now, it’s just me. And I make everything to order. I’m still small, but it’s starting to grow, which is great.

Sadek: What has been the biggest lesson you learned from running this operation?

Girnas: It’s one of those things where you have to just keep trying to try to persevere. Nothing happens overnight. Maybe once in a blue moon, somebody will have a business that happens overnight, and they’re very lucky. But you have to keep going. It’s not like when you’re working for a job or appending on a regular salary or paycheck. This is you. And if you don’t do it, it’s not going to happen. 

You’re not going somewhere every day to work for a company. You have to propel yourself mentally and physically, if you want it. That’s the hardest thing, just persevering. But if you believe in it, you really have to believe in yourself and your product. And I’ve been fortunate to have people that have every step of the way, cheer me on and offer to help. I know not everybody is lucky enough to have that. But you really just have to mentally strive to believe in what you’re doing.

Sadek: If you had any tips for those looking to start their own small business, what would it be?

Girnas: Try to use the resources in your community. There are so many things, too, online now about learning how to run business finance, and how to market [yourself]. Also, you just mentally have to prepare yourself, because there are going to be good days and bad days. And if you have people around you that believe in you, you can talk to those people and ask their opinions. 

It’s just kind of making sure that you’re in a good space to be able to do it because it’s not easy. Even if you have a great product, in DFW, there’s so much competition. We have so many businesses, it’s great because there is room for so many. But there’s also a lot of competition out there. 

Sadek: Anything else you’d like to mention or share?

Girnas: I enjoy making people happy and being part of their celebrations. And I’d love to do some community events and get more into working with charities. It excites me to give back to the community. So if I can do that in any way, once I’m in a position to do that, I would love to do that.

Sandra Sadek is a Report for America corps member, covering growth for the Fort Worth Report. You can contact her at sandra.sadek@fortworthreport.org or on Twitter at @ssadek19

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Sandra Sadek is the growth reporter for the Fort Worth Report and a Report for America corps member. She writes about Fort Worth's affordable housing crisis, infrastructure and development. Originally...