By Dennis Seid
Having a frozen treat an ice pop – flavored ice on a stick – is an ideal solution to deal with the heat. (A Popsicle, as most people call them, is a trademark of the Unilever Corp.)
But having a purple, red or orange one chock full of sugar and artificial ingredients from a store’s freezer section – not so much.
At least, not to Chance Beck and her business partner, Blake Whitehead.
The duo have created Popsy, a portable all-natural, mobile ice pop stand that made its debut last week.
“We use fresh fruit, organic sweeteners and they’re hand-crafted,” said Beck, who was set up in Fairpark Friday for Food Truck Friday.
Popsy buys locally as much as possible, with fruit coming from local farmers, honey from Nettleton and milk and cream from Oxford. And filtered water.
“There’s no artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, no high-fructose corn syrup,” Beck said.
The equipment to quick-freeze the Popsy frozen treats came from Brazil.
But plenty of advice and support have come from local restaurateurs as well.
“I’m good friends with Neon Pig and KOK and Blue Canoe,” Beck said. “I dropped off some at Neon Pig’s freezer, KOK has a glass of champagne with a Popsy in it, and Adam (Morgan) at Blue Canoe suggested I come out to Fairpark.”
The flavors vary as fruit is seasonal, but Friday’s selections included Dreamsicle, chocolate, strawberry banana, watermelon, blueberry banana, chocolate banana, plum crazy, key lime pie, grapefruit mint, avocado coconut and strawberry.
The Popsy treats are $2 each, and Beck said their debut at a baseball tournament last weekend was a smashing success, with about 1,000 sold.
“It was amazing,” she said.
Whitehead had gotten the idea after getting his first taste of an all-natural frozen treat in Alabama, and brought the idea back to Beck.
She admits it took a little time for the idea to grow on her, but when it finally did, they jumped in both feet first.
They converted a 13-by-40 storage building into their production center, compete with countertop, commercial freezer and the equipment from Brazil.
Beck and Whitehead are real estate agents at Crye-Leike, their full-time jobs, but getting Popsy off the ground “seems to be my full-time job lately” Beck said with a laugh.
She doesn’t see Popsy as a year-round business yet, envisioning about a seven-month selling season covering the warmer months of the year.
But she hopes to eventually move to a permanent storefront location.
“One step at a time,” she said.