New popcorn shop brings kernels of flavor to Gouverneur

Tseko T. Vachev Jr. said he started making popcorn when he was 5 years old.

Now he does it all day.

In June, Mr. Vachev opened a new business, Route 58 Popcorn, where he makes 25 different flavors of gourmet popcorn for wholesale and retail.

He is licensed with the state Department of Agriculture & Markets as a food processor and prepares his products from a new wooden building constructed by members of the Amish community.

The aroma of fresh-made popcorn greets customers who stop at the shop, in the village at 1214 Route 11. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“Business has been great so far,” Mr. Vachev said. “I have a lot of mom and pop stores who want my popcorn and some larger grocery store chains are considering it.”

Customers have also purchased the popcorn for birthday parties and other celebrations.

The popcorn is sold in two sizes, 6- and 12-ounce bags with prices ranging from $4 to $6.75. Besides original butter flavor, there’s sweet flavors like caramel, chocolate caramel drizzle and cinnamon crunch white drizzle. The variety of savory flavors include honey barbecue, yellow cheddar, puckering dill, Parmesan garlic, bacon and cheese, cheddar jalapeno, bacon and cheese, cheddar jalapeno and more. A wine flavor popcorn is coming soon.

Mr. Vachev, 45, said he created most of the seasonings and recipes himself and hopes to expand to 58 flavors.

To help get the business started, he received assistance from the Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University campus, Potsdam.

“They helped me with designing the labeling and packaging,” he said.

Mr. Vachev said he chose the name Route 58 Popcorn because he grew up on a farm on Route 58, Macomb.

Prior to opening his popcorn business, Mr. Vachev operated a commercial helicopter service, Adirondack Helicopters LLC. He is also a former patrolman with the Gouverneur Village Police Department.

Updates on the business can be found on the Route 58 Popcorn’s Facebook page. Mr. Vachev can be reached at 771-1671.

By Susan Mende, Watertown Daily Times