In 1930, William Chester “Chet” Peters and his wife, Luella, decided to pack up their confectionary popcorn business in Boulder and travel across Colorado. The two decided to settle in Greeley and launched Peters Pop Corn in the fall of 1930. After establishing their name on 8th Avenue, Peters Pop Corn moved locations the following March to 831 9th Street. They would call this location home for their adored confectionary shop for the next 14 years.
The focus of Peters Pop Corn was Chet’s own homemade popcorn and candies. Luella concentrated on running the business while their son, LeRoy, had a unique childhood of growing up and helping out in his family’s own confectionary shop.
During the Christmas holiday season, Peters Pop Corn helped spread holiday cheer around Greeley. By collaborating with the owner of Quality Grocery and Market, and with the support of the local Greeley Tribune newspaper, the Peters were able to prepare and distribute three thousand bags of homemade popcorn as Christmas gifts to local Greeley children. This generous gift of Peters Pop Corn solidified their popularity in the community.
In 1945, a need for more space led the Peters to search out bigger quarters, and the business moved to the A.L. Mumper building on 9th Street. “[T]ons of pop corn have gone over the counter…the firm is using corn at the rate of ten tons a year and expects to use more,” explained Chet. Moving to the larger building confirmed Chet’s anticipation of continuing to provide a popular hometown treat for Greeley.
Chet’s expectation of using “ten tons a year” of popcorn kept increasing. In 1953, a new building opened up on 16th Street. Without hesitation, Peters Pop Corn, as well as Kiley the Cleaner and Smith’s Radio and TV store, leased the available space. Peters’ Pop Corn now had two stores to distribute their beloved homemade pop corn and candies.
Within a few years, the Peters celebrated their 25th anniversary in the popcorn making business. Chet became a prominent member of the National Association of Pop Corn Manufacturers and the National Association of Retail Confectioners.
The Peters went on to sell their Greeley stores, name and all, to June Genessy, in 1957. The family moved to Loveland, Colorado and spent time traveling. However, they could not resist the sweet smell of success in the confectionary business and decided to open a new confectionary store in Loveland named Sweetheart Popcorn Store. Although the family moved out of Greeley, the trademark name of their celebrated business, Peters Pop Corn, will always remain unique to the history of Greeley.
Originally printed in the Greeley Tribune, February 15, 2012
Written by Jessica Faucher, former Collections Assistant