CHICAGO (CBS) — The sound and smell of freshly-popped popcorn leaves you with no doubt about where you are before you even enter Mother Butter’s Popcorn and Confectionary, at 17 W. 35th St. just west of State Street.

Owner Tim Donnelly’s career as an electrician came to an end after he had two hip replacements, and he was looking for a new passion.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

“I really, really wanted to get into my own business, and my wife and I had a love for confections. We made them at home, and I really thought we were on to something with this caramel recipe,” Donnelly said.

So three years ago, Donnelly and his wife, Jennifer, a teacher, began using their family recipe to make caramel, and later cheese popcorn.

Now, they have some 30 flavors, all made with fresh, natural, and locally-grown ingredients.

“We started getting involved in farmers markets this summer. We were the only shop ever to be involved in Daley Plaza’s Farmers Market because we have to prove that our corn – 80 percent of our product – was bought by a local farmer,” Donnelly said.

Their shop is in an area that used to be part of the urban blight of the old Stateway Gardens public housing development.

“Our business came in after they knocked those projects down, and it’s still subsidized, but we want to be part of a neighborhood that’s growing, and grow with it,” Donnelly said.

Mother Butter’s also makes customized products. To learn more, click here.

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