Food is art. To paraphrase a phase - "IF you don't knooooooow, you are about to." Pete's Pops is more than the small cart + smiling face you may have seen and smiled back after getting a free sample on a stick during a hot Milwaukee Summer event. There is story to every victory and it can even be sweet sometimes. We wanted to open up the mind of the creative brand you will soon see popping up everywhere - Get to know your favorite popsicle pusher! 5 QUESTIONS?
1. What are some of the most strange flavors you have imagined creating? Like what if there was.....
I'm very drawn to making flavors involving starchy things. Our Coffee n' Donuts pop is one of my favorites and I think one that stands up against any dessert in town. We did a Chocolate Covered Potato Chip pop that was out of this world. This winter we made a Gingerbread Cookie flavor for a few holiday events. The next one I want to try is a Cheez-It pop...it's my favorite salty snack and I think the salty/sweet combo will end up working out really well.
2. What have been some of your toughest challenges recently opening up an actual store front?
The plan was to get the storefront open and moved into before our busy season hit, but when the storefront and kitchen got delayed until August we somehow had to figure out a way to move our entire production process from one kitchen to another basically overnight without skipping a beat on our production schedule. On top of that I had to plan and pull off a Grand Opening celebration while still providing for all the other events that were already booked for the weekend that ultimately became the grand opening weekend. That was a stressful time with lots of nightmares about something going wrong in the new space and all the popsicles melting everywhere.
3. What are some words of business encouragement you can offer to other local entrepreneurs or people developing their products for market?
The biggest thing is just to put yourself out there. You are never going to have all the answers or a fool proof plan. There will be risks and ups and downs and it's all part of making it work however you need to make it work. The lows can feel really low and the highs are amazingly high, but I think in both of those scenarios you have to stay somewhere level in the middle. That's where the truth is.
4. What are your 'dream' locations that would sell Pete's Pops?
We are actively trying to get into Miller Park right now which has been on the list of potential spots since before Day 1. If it happens, it will be a big milestone for me. After that there are a bunch of venues that I've talked about for awhile that I think would be great fits including the Zoo, Fiserv Forum, Summerfest, etc.
5. What valuable lessons from your childhood help you operate your Popsicle business?
When I started to brainstorm about the idea for Pete's Pops I was in the process of getting very interested and involved in all things food related. It was a pretty big career turn for me and so sometimes I doubted whether I was focusing on the right things for a recent college graduate to be focusing on. But then I started to think about all the food related memories of my childhood and I realized that I had always found a connection in food. My favorite childhood memories are all food related. Reliving those old memories gave me confidence to pursue my business. So the lesson is that as you get older to never forget about those things that first gave you a spark or energy as a child. Those things are very real and true to who you are; it's so important to not lose sight of those things in your life.