673 E. Nees Ave.
At Grandpa’s Popcorn & Sweets in northeast Fresno, you get a dose of sweet, savory and spicy. The namesake of the sweets shop is Fred Campbell — or “grandpa” as his grandson, Daniel Campbell, calls him. The story of the sweets shop starts with Amos “Jupie” in Cleveland, Ohio. Nearly five decades ago, Amos (Fred’s brother) opened a profitable franchise called Karmelkorn. It quickly caught the attention of his son and daughter-in-law, Jeff and Lynn.
In 2004, the couple — along with their daughters, Holly and Bethany — opened Campbell’s Sweets Factory. Inspired to pursue a career in the sweets industry like his brother, Fred asked for help from Daniel. They packed their suitcases for a three-week trip to Cleveland, learning the process through trial and error.
In 2017, they opened Grandpa’s Popcorn & Sweets on the southeast corner of Nees Avenue and First Street. Owned and operated by Daniel and his wife, Cassiopeia, the sweets shop uses mushroom kernels that pop into large, puffy balls of gluten-free, non-GMO popcorn.
Daniel said there are more than 60 different flavors of popcorn, which are labeled by categories: sweet, savory, spicy and a combination of sweet and savory.
“Kettle corn is the No. 1 choice among customers,” he says.
Caramel and cheese, dill pickle and spicy caramel cheese are also popular choices. For spicy caramel cheese, the balls of popcorn are coated with caramel and then tossed again with cheddar cheese — similar to Chicago-style popcorn. A generous dose of cayenne pepper that measures 60,000 on the Scoville heat scale (that’s more than a serrano pepper but not as spicy as a habañero) is added for the spicy kick.
Inside the sweets shop, bags of popcorn adorn a shelf that stretches along the wall. There are free samples of 20 flavors. If you have a sweet tooth, try flavors like cinnamon roll, vanilla butternut, cotton candy, cocoa and butter rum.
Cassiopeia also starts baking cupcakes as early as 4 a.m. Indulge in giant 5.5-ounce and standard-sized cupcakes in a wide range of flavors, as well chocolate-dipped pretzels, graham crackers and marshmallows. There are also gift baskets for various holidays including Easter and Mother’s Day.