It's an awesome time to be a Jacksonian- there are so many amazing new and locally owned restaurants, shops and businesses and so many great and driven people behind these operations, you can't help but be excited to support them. This Mississippi Monday, we are proud to support and chat with the fine family of Pop Culture Pops, and of course we had to give them a Thimble-team visit for a taste tasting while we were at it ;)
Read on for our recent interview with them and give them a visit to beat this summer heat this week!
Q & A with The Kinsley's:
How did you all get started and what was the inspiration to take the small business leap? Craig, Mr. Pop as we call him, was the Co-Founder of a fledgling internet start-up based here in Jackson, MS. We had visited a couple of gourmet ice pop stores over the last couple of years and really thought something similar would be a great addition to the rising food scene in Fondren. In early February of this year, we took a weekend anniversary trip to Birmingham, AL and re-visited all of our favorite spots, including Steel City Pops. On our drive back to Jackson, we couldn't stop thinking what a great idea fresh, local, & natural gourmet ice pops were. Once we got it in our heads, we quickly made a decision to bring gourmet ice pops to Jackson! We took our tax return & invested it in what is now Pop Culture Pops. For weeks we did trial and error tests on different recipes, until we felt we had a handful of really great tasting pops. A friend & neighbor who happens to be a trained carpenter built our cart & we debuted our pops at a local community event called Fondren's First Thursdays. We immediately started getting catering & event requests as well as an incredible social media response with in a few short weeks. How does Mississippi play a role in your business? Our business wouldn't be what it is and as successful as we are any other place. We have made and are continuing to make relationships with Mississippi farmers, as well as partnerships with farm-to-table initiatives. We really bet on the idea that this was a time in our state where people were looking for food with known ingredients and as few of those ingredients as possible. We have local grocery stores with whole and organic foods, but there was a gaping hole with sweet treats. We made a commitment to make all of our pops with very few ingredients and in small batches. They taste wonderful while still remaining low in calories. We believe Mississippi is ready for this type of food.
Meet the Kinsley Family- Craig, Lori and their daughter Piper (image credit: FinditinFondren.com)
What exactly is Pop Culture ? As Pop Culture Pops, we create and sell gourmet ice pops. Our pops, which are handmade daily, are made from as locally sourced and organic ingredients as possible. We currently sell our pops out of a custom built, old fashioned style cart in front of the historic Capri Theater in downtown Fondren, MS.
What are your goals for your brand? We plan to have Pop Culture Pops available in every community in the Jackson Metro area. While we are in the process of opening a store front, our goal is to build more carts that will be able to serve more locations, making it convenient for everyone to enjoy our treats.We will also be opening self-serve coolers, as well as flavors specifically crafted for various Jackson area restaurants. What is your business/educational background like? Craig has been an entrepreneur since he was 18, when he co-founded a mobile car detail service called Washers on Wheels. More recently, while living in San Francisco, he became involved with internet startups. When we moved back to Mississippi, he founded StoryTour, a mobile platform for geo-based audio tours. After problems locally raising the large amount of investment needed to take the company nationwide, we decided to combine Lori's vast experience in retail management with Craig's business sense, to create Pop Culture Pops. Where do you all find inspiration? We find most of our inspiration from our customers. We get flavor ideas on a daily basis from all of the people who stop by our cart. There's something excited about showing up at Pop Culture and not really knowing what flavors we'll have that day. We are constantly pushing ourselves to create unique combinations with a focus on flavor balance. What do you all like to do when you aren't “at the office"? We're parents and big nerds. Most of our off-time is spent with our 4-yr-old daughter, Piper. She gives us so much motivation and definitely lights us up when we're feeling burnt out. We enjoy serialized television shows, video games and DC comics. What are your favorite local places to shop and dine? All of our favorite local places are in Fondren of course. While there is so much amazing food downtown and in other areas of North Jackson, when it comes to creative cuisine, Fondren is our favorite. Walker's Drive In is hard to beat and for a quick lunch we visit Cafe Ole or Basil's. Craig buys all his shoes from Swell-O-Phonic and Piper loves the Mississippi cookies from Campbell's Bakery What are some of the reasons you call Mississippi home? Mississippi is our home first because of family. We both grew up here and graduated from Madison Central. Most of our family lives in the area. We spent 8 years away and now realize what we were missing. We have been blown away by the response to our business. We have received nothing but open arms from all of the Metro area and our neighborhood businesses have all supported us in so many ways. How do you think what you are doing is helping to shape your local community as well as the image of Mississippi? Mississippi has a poor report card when it comes to food. There is some new organizations that are working to help our farmers grow more crops that can be sold direct to restaurants and families right here in Mississippi. We want to do a small part in supporting that new agricultural movement and provide children and adults alike with a better sweet treat alternative.
Our Thimble-team visit to the Pop Culture cart outside the Capri Theatre in Fondren
FIND AND KEEP UP WITH POP CULTURE IN ALL THESE PLACES:
and catch them this Friday at the Mississippi Craft Beer Festival in Fondren (details below):