“It started with just a bike,” said Todd Saulle, co-owner of The Pop Stop
, a local gourmet popsicle vendor.
The Pop Stop
is a husband-and-wife business -- Saulle and his wife Laura -- that started in 2013 with a bike, some coolers and a fresh new product that combines fresh fruit and herbs to make ice pops.
“Everything is fresh,” Saulle said. He then joked, “We don’t use any frozen fruit … until we freeze it ourselves.”
The coolers, packed with dry ice, could carry about 200 popsicles, Saulle said. But the cooler and bike combo was cumbersome. So, in 2014, The Pop Stop upgraded to two small push carts.
With the carts, The Pop Stop has been a staple at city events like Shadyside's Weather Permitting, the North Side's annual Deutschtown Music Festival and the weekly Downtown Farmers Market in Market Square.
But, Saulle is currently working on a way to improve mobility and garner more business with the Pop Stop Sweet Truck, a food truck peddling artisanal summer treats.
“Last year, we did about 80 different events,” he said, noting markets, weddings and parties. “We’re really trying to double what we did last year.”
Saulle noted that the truck will be able to handle any size event. He joked that while working some events with the cart he would run out of product and need to leave and come back to continue to sell ice pops.
The 1970s Good Humor ice cream truck has been purchased off Craigslist, registered and converted into The Pop Stop’s Sweet Truck, logo and all. But, Saulle said, the interior is still empty.
That’s where you come in.
Saulle started a foodstart.com
to finish the build-out of the truck. Prizes
for donating include free treats and ice cream parties.
“[You] get to experience the thing you put money toward,” Saulle said about the prizes.
Not only will the truck allow Saulle to sell more popsicles, but he will be able to expand to different products as well.
While small-batch ice pops will remain the primary focus, Saulle said he wants the truck to provide the best versions of your favorite novelty mobile treats like shaved ice, ice cream and soda.
The Sweet Truck plans to serve “raspados” (Latin American shaved ice with fresh fruit, natural syrup and condensed milk), Leona's Ice Cream Sandwiches
(local lactose-free ice cream) and locally bottled Red Ribbon Soda
The truck will also allow The Pop Stop to roll out enhanced versions of their pops, like chocolate dipped ice pops that can be rolled in toppings from shaved coconut to nuts to spices.
The Pop Stop Sweet Truck’s first scheduled event will be May 10 at The Neighborhood Flea
in the Strip District.
Source: Todd Saulle, The Pop Stop, www.foodstart.com/project/thepopstop