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Pop On The Block offers unique take on a traditional snack

A new store in town gives shoppers a chance to think outside the box this Valentine’s Day…outside the heart-shaped box of chocolates that is.

Pop On The Block opened its fourth location at The Crossing late last year and offers a lot more to shoppers than the usual kettle corn and buttered varieties of popcorn that are a tasty part of our mainstream snack options. So, if chocolate isn’t melting your love’s heart and a little pop is needed…

“Everyone loves popcorn,” said Justin Hetherington, who owns the business with his mother, Lisa Rose, “from the taste for the healthy to the decadent.”

Look for the Valentine’s themed popcorn pizza: a base of chocolate topped with popcorn and candies and pretzels that show your special person they deserve a little razzle dazzle at snack time. The store also offers several premium concoctions that mimic popular candy bars.

Planning a Super Bowl party can include themed creations in the colors of your favorite team (clearly the New England Patriots, God willing).

Popcorn is good all the time, anytime, Hetherington said. “It is a unique and different gift,” he said.

Pop On The Block features more than 20 flavors from its own recipes. Premium popcorn flavors to unique creations like Popcorn Pizza fill the shelves, Hetherington said. The first Pop On The Block opened on Block Island (thus the name Pop On The Block) last spring and has grown in less than a year to new locations at The Providence Place Mall, Mystic Conn., and now Smithfield.

The business operates with a strong sense of “social responsibility,” Hetherington said. Through its four stores and also its website, Pop On The Block provides fundraising programs for groups and individuals, from dance groups to helping someone with high medical bills, he said.

Allocated times are provided at each of the stores so that within an announced time period on a specific day a customer supporting a fundraising effort can identify the cause when they cash out and a portion of the sale (to the advantage of the fundraiser) is donated. Fundraising efforts and regular sales are available at the company’s website popontheblock.com

The popcorn is non-GMO mushroom-sized kernels, and fresh, Hetherington said. The store also sells organic versions as well as organic salts and a variety of seasonings.

Deluxe flavors of popcorn fill the shelves: peanut butter crunch, cookies and cream, candy crunch, chocolate sea salt caramel, s’mores crunch, Kit Kat crunch, white and dark chocolate swirl, triple chocolate crunch and white chocolate peppermint.

The Smithfield Pop On The Block is located between Bath and Body Works and Carter’s on the Dave’s Marketplace side of The Crossing.