published Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Ice pop cart operator says his wheeled business has legs

  • photo
    John Baiyewu of the Pop Shop sells popsicles near the Waterhouse Pavilion at Miller Plaza.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
    enlarge photo

Name: The Pop Shop

Location: Frozen treats cart appearing at Fresh on Friday in Miller Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Chattanooga Market on Sunday

Web site: www.thepopshop.us

Products: Sales and event catering of hand-crafted ice pops. The pops come in a variety of flavors including the more tame strawberry lemonade and the more extreme sweet cream corn.

Age: 15 months

Startup investment: More than $10,000

Target market: Everyone. Most of the Pop Shop's treats are gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan. In an attempt to make high-quality food available to everyone, Pop Shop co-founder John Baiyewu said the carts accept food stamps and EBT for their $2.50 pops.

Biggest hurdle: Managing the growing operation. The Pop Shop started as a one-cart operation appearing weekly at an Atlanta food market. It since has expanded to five carts operating in Atlanta and Chattanooga, and Baiyewu plans to make the Pop Shop a daily operation in the Scenic City. "It's about being able to adapt quickly," he said. "There's no blueprint to start a successful small popsicle company.

Biggest reward: Customer reactions to the recipes of Baiyewu and co-founder Ava Artis. "It's great to be out in the kitchen and working on creative recipes," he said. "It's great to be in the marketplace, which is more external, and be able to see people react and respond."

Lesson learned: Be prepared to succeed. Baiyewu said he was confident he had a quality product but didn't expect the pops to catch on as quickly as they did. "If you're going to jump in, take the plunge. Say I'm going to succeed," Baiyewu said. He advised trying to anticipate expansion requirements and costs, and giving customers a clear, consistent message to help make the business stick out in their minds.

-- Compiled by Carey O'Neil, who may be reached at coneil@timesfreepress.com

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royw64 said...

What ? The POPCYCLE Man Accepts Food Stamps. What's This Country Comming To?

August 16, 2011 at 6:50 a.m.
HannaBeckman said...

TFP, how about asking the Health Dept.if this cart is up to FoodService Handlers codes/licenses. TFP, how about asking the local IRS office if this guy pays income taxes/ TFP, how about seeing if he is collecting and PAYING local/state sales taxes, if not, ask the D.A. if charges are following.

August 16, 2011 at 12:35 p.m.
ThePopShopChatt said...

LOL "royw64" (http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/ebt/fm.htm) is the link that details about the EBT Program offered at various Farmers Markets that we participate in. We won't be taking any "stamps" at our carts though ;-)

Hi Hanna. Thank you for your interest. Rest assured, we are a legit business and we're looking forward to our time in Chattanooga! Feel free to contact us directly if you have some questions/concerns. Come by sometime & have one of our great ice pops. "Best In The SouthEast" is what we've heard so far...

August 22, 2011 at 1:34 p.m.
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