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Local

Hopper’s Poppers up for sale

Owner cites $15 minimum wage hike, high property taxes

Ryan Hopper pops up a batch of popcorn shortly after opening Hopper's Poppers in October 2016 in downtown Oregon. Hopper said he's selling his business, and the building it's in at 104 N. Fourth St., and also is closing his Sycamore shop because of the recently approved minimum wage hike, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, and because of the state's high property taxes.
Ryan Hopper pops up a batch of popcorn shortly after opening Hopper's Poppers in October 2016 in downtown Oregon. Hopper said he's selling his business, and the building it's in at 104 N. Fourth St., and also is closing his Sycamore shop because of the recently approved minimum wage hike, which would increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, and because of the state's high property taxes.

OREGON – After a little more than 2 years downtown, Hopper’s Poppers – the business, and the building it’s in – are being put up for sale, the owner said.

Ryan Hopper also closed his Sycamore shop this week, citing Gov. J.B. Pritzker approval of a statewide $15 minimum wage increase.

Three months ago, he and his wife Stephanie were considering adding a third location in Roscoe, which would have brought him closer to his five-location goal. But he said the the minimum wage hike and Illinois’s notoriously high property taxes solidified the decision for his family to continue their business ventures outside Illinois, Hopper told the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.

“Our taxes added up, and everything was just really starting to go against being able to make a living,” Hopper said.

Hopper, of Oregon, owns the building at 108 N. Fourth St.; he plans to have both the building and the business, which will remain open, on the market by Monday, he said.

Hopper started selling gourmet popcorn at the Sycamore Theatre, which is owned by his parents, Kenley and Daryl Hopper, in 2011, and will continue to do so.

The 34-year-old said he could keep the Oregon store and make an OK living with his wife, Stephanie, and their three young children, “but at the age that I’m at, I feel like I would benefit from taking my business somewhere else.”

He also took into consideration that his children, 8 and younger, aren’t very integrated into the school system yet, he said.

He’s been looking at moving to North Carolina, home of a lower state income tax, lower property taxes and a lower minimum wage, Hopper said.

“I could open up almost three stores compared to the one I could have here.”

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