If you love popcorn (or a gourmet hot dog), then you’ve likely heard of Pam’s Market Popcorn and Windy City Eats, a small business that has been in operation for 16 years. Owner Pam Tylka’s creativity isn’t limited to her culinary skills. She recently earned the Cutest Storefront Award for drawing positive attention to her business in Visit Gahanna‘s Holiday Storefront Contest. The award was presented to Pam earlier this month by Lori Kappes (Executive Director of Visit Gahanna) and Courtney Thraen (Economic Development Manager, City of Gahanna).
“I really love having my business in Gahanna, and I want to continue operating here for a long time. It’s allowed me to get to know many community members on a personal level, and the school district here is really great to partner with, too,” said Tylka.
Located at 955 East Johnstown Road, the shop welcomes customers with a colorful array of food products, including dog treats. Aside from offering more than 20 flavors of popcorn, this Gahanna-based shop serves as a local distributor for nearby small-batch producers of honey, syrup and other goods.
“Before running my shop in Gahanna, I operated out of the North Market in Columbus. While I was looking for a new space for my shop, I had stopped into the CVS in Gahanna. Nearby, I saw that this space was available for lease, and there was a shopping cart from the North Market in this space. I took this all as a sign to move my business to Gahanna,” shared Tylka.
Treat options at Pam’s Popcorn also include homemade fudge brownies, cotton candy, buckeye chocolates, ice cream novelties, potato chip cookies, and more. Aside from treats, customers can order New York or Chicago-style hot dogs, Pam’s Award-Winning Coney Dog, bratwurst with sauerkraut, and four-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches, among other savory choices.
“I started this business because food is everything. I sell great food at the best prices. The food I sell reminds me of the most precious childhood memories that I had with my family, and I want to share that feeling with everyone who comes into my shop,” exclaimed Tylka.
Members of Gahanna’s Economic Development team assisted Pam (and other local businesses) during the pandemic by sharing information about local, regional, and state-level resources to support her business. Tylka is excited to pursue the Ohio Women-owned Business Enterprise certification to potentially apply for a no-interest loan through the Ohio Department of Development, where funds can be used to update appliances and large equipment, among other uses.
“Like many small business owners, I started my business to take care of my kids. As a single parent, running a business gave me the needed flexibility to earn income on my own schedule,” explained Tylka.