It is fitting that I would interview a woman who is at the top of her game in the lounge at the top of the city. For most people, becoming a biomedical engineer would be the culmination of their professional goals, but most people aren’t Marcia Taylor. This ambitious young woman has made a big splash in the local small business community with her line of liquor-infused popcorn, known as Lush.
The Detroit native has had a lifelong passion for savory snacks, with cheese popcorn being her favorite way to satisfy her cravings. Growing up, a portion of the holiday season each year was spent battling her brother over who’d get the lion’s share of family’s annual tin of flavored popcorns. Now, Taylor confesses that no one else had a chance, as soon as the tin entered the home, she knew the section containing the bright orange kernels would be hers. Despite making, and selling, the stuff by the barrel-full, it is still among her favorite snacks.
She shared her love of popcorn with friends and coworkers, popping up a new flavored batch to each potluck event she attended. When a friend asked her to create a custom popcorn bar for her wedding, Marcia knew she had something that was resonating with snack lovers. Inspired by the success of Chicago’s wildly successful Garrett popcorn, Taylor launched her own line of popcorn, with a twist. Lush popcorn owes much of its celebrated flavor to the inclusion of bourbon, which creates a more complicated, and less cloyingly sweet version of caramel corn that has snackers all over town swooning.
Those tiny corn kernels have been making a big impact on the city in 2018. Lush won the 9th District’s Shark Tank competition, introducing the Granville neighborhood to the hand-crafted treats. Lush will also have a spot in the much anticipated Sherman Phoenix project, spearheaded by developer Juli Kaufmann, who was named Woman Executive of the Year by the Biz Times. Taylor joins a group of socially motivated business owners determined to make a powerful economic impact on an area of Milwaukee that has been traditionally underserved.
These days, it is hard to find a local food-based event that does not feature Taylor’s specialty popcorns and the list of retailers who carry the small-batch snacks continues to grow. Local business groups, organizations that celebrate women in business, associations for women in technology and leadership all know her and track her success. She is everywhere in the city, including the Pfister’s magnificent 23rd floor.