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Monday, November 27, 2017

Meet Kristina Kern, Single Mompreneur and Owner of the Nation’s First Gourmet Popcorn Food Truck

Kristina Kern, founder of Stella's PopKern food truck in Washington, DC
Kristina Kern, with more than 20 years’ experience as a high-end catering professional, did not take a traditional road towards entrepreneurship. A convergence of life-changing events happened that created the impetus for Stella*s PopKern. After bringing in more than $2.5 million in sales at a highly respected corporate catering company, she was unexpectedly fired due to corporate politics.
Upon a nasty divorce, she became a single mother. The final straw was watching her best friend die suddenly of brain cancer.

“It was then I decided life is too short to let any other opportunities go by,” stated Kristina. “We’re here on this Earth one time. I’m going to do it. I’m going to open my own business. I thought, what does this city (Washington, D.C.) not have that I want to bring to it, and that was gourmet popcorn.”

The product for Kristina’s business was inspired by a beloved history of “popcorn dinners” in her family starting with Kristina and her mother and continuing with Kristina and her daughter Stella. From that idea spawned a revelation that birthed Stella*s PopKern in February 2012. There was no gourmet popcorn food truck that existed, not just in the nation’s capital, but the nation. Her mission: bring unique but delicious, gourmet and affordable popcorn to D.C.

The name evolved naturally from the inspiration for her business – her daughter Stella whose name means star (representing the nation’s capital) and Kern, her last name, which means “kernel” in German.

Defying the odds

After having early success with the food truck, Kristina took another risk by expanding into a storefront on an under served and underdeveloped block of Georgia Avenue in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Not viewing herself as a trailblazer at the time, Kristina set herself apart from traditional food retailers in the nation’s capital.

Today she has the only gourmet, non-GMO, natural popcorn storefront retail business in the nation’s capital and she has serviced a number of corporate clients that include Microsoft, Facebook, Carefirst and Cirque du Soleil.

Not your average popcorn connoisseur

Having a catering and culinary background, Kristina knows flavor profiles and how to develop unique, creative combinations. She strives to invent new flavors to her popcorn daily as she asserts popcorn is the perfect vehicle to carry flavors, and her customers agree.

“In addition to offering some classics, I wanted to create some really cool elements that haven’t really been introduced yet to popcorn - an example is a popcorn infused with Persian lime olive oil with smoked paprika cayenne finished with lime fresco sea salt. We’re able to bring really cool, fun, creative food to people, and the opportunities are endless,” states Kristina.

Additionally, Stella*s PopKern services clients in a unique way that goes beyond the traditional retail funnels. Her catering opportunities include full popcorn buffets and the onsite food truck, “fire drill” gifts for organizations that want to give their employees a treat while they endure fire drills, VIP giftbags for high-end receptions and snack bag options for bus tours, among other offerings.

Learn more about Kristina and her company at or follow her brand on Facebook at

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