Two Tuscaloosa educators who run a small popcorn and treats business will be featured as a vendor for the World Games competition in Birmingham next month.

Marleshia Hall, a biology instructor at Shelton State Community College, and Shunetta Kirkman, a teacher at Westlawn Middle School, are best friends who started their business in November 2020 after making treats for several years as a hobby for coworkers and church members.

Hall said she originally thought they would go into the food service industry when Kirkman proposed the idea of turning their hobby into something bigger.

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"Initially I wanted a food truck to sell Southern food when she came with that idea of starting a company and I was like, 'okay, let's give it a shot,'" Hall said. "I just thought it was gonna be another hobby and it ended up being a full-fledged business."

Ultimately, they created Poppin' Sisters Popcorn, and their prepackaged snacks can be found in the five Piggly Wiggly grocery stores throughout Tuscaloosa and Northport, as well as in both of the University Supply Stores on the University of Alabama's campus.

Poppin' Sisters will now take their talents to the World Games as a vendor in the competition's Merchant Market. They will be featured during selected dates, including July 7th, 9th, 13th, 14th and 17th.

Poppin' Sisters Popcorn is one of three Tuscaloosa-area businesses that were selected to attend the World games as vendors.

Hall said they are filled with many emotions as they prepare for the sports competition that is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.

"It's a lot of nervous excitement and we're really overwhelmed with joy that we will be able to introduce the world to Poppin' Sisters Popcorn," Hall said. "There are going to be people that are not just playing in the sports, but also volunteers from all around the world as well that will be there and we'll get to introduce them to our popcorn. We're really excited about that."

The duo has rallied their team that will assist with running the shifts, which will run from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day.

Hall said she hopes after experiencing the World Games they will continue to move forward with business, with hopes of one day having a brick and mortar location here in Tuscaloosa. Eventually, Hall said they want to "pop" their way onto a nationwide scene.

"If I had things my way, we would have a story in every major city in the country," Hall said.

Stay connected with the Tuscaloosa for profiles of the other two area businesses that will be featured at the World Games.

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