Mrs. Frankly and I stopped in at Martha's popcorn stand last night for some caramel corn and a visit with Jack Randinelli. Martha's is an icon.
In 1940, Martha went to visit Jack's grandfather. She had recently lost her job at the Auburn Motor Company and decided to open a popcorn stand. A loan officer at the Savings and Loan, Mr. Randinelli, Martha hoped, would loan her enough to go into business. At the time, the S&L only made loans on real estate. Although the bank couldn't help her, Mr. Randinelli made her a personal loan and a tradition was begun.
Several years ago, as Martha's health began to fade, so did the fortunes of her popcorn stand. It looked, in fact, like the tradition might be lost. Enter Jack Randinelli, the grandson of Martha's original benefactor. Jack bought the popcorn stand, and his wife and daughter continue to operate it today.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can buy a dollar bag of hot popcorn in either butter flavor or caramel until 9 P.M. But come early. As we sat and visited with Jack last night, I'll bet there were at least a half dozen folks who were disappointed to find they arrived after closing time. (On the weekend, the shop stays open until 11 P.M.)
With the recent exhibition of Sculptures on the Square, Martha's has become an even better family destination. For only $5, you can grab the family pack - four bags of popcorn and four cans of soda pop. You won't find a better deal anywhere in DeKalb County. Stop in on west 9th street next to The Evening Star building and get your popcorn fix.
(Check out Chad Gramling's and some other guy's memories of Martha's.)