Lil' Pop Shop offers gourmet Popsicles

MICHAEL HINKELMAN / DAILY NEWS STAFF Lil' Pop Shop owner Jeanna Chang shows off some Popsicles at her West Philadelphia store.
MICHAEL HINKELMAN / DAILY NEWS STAFF Lil' Pop Shop owner Jeanna Chang shows off some Popsicles at her West Philadelphia store.
Posted: May 23, 2014

J EANNE CHANG, 37, of West Philadelphia, is chef and co-owner of Lil' Pop Shop, which makes and sells gourmet Popsicles on 44th Street above Spruce in West Philly. A California native and pastry chef who trained at the Culinary Institute of America, she opened the shop in 2012, and soon Food & Wine magazine listed it in "Best Popsicles in the U.S."

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Lil' Pop Shop?

A: I was living in Durham, N.C., and we went to a place called Locopops and it was healthy. When we moved here in 2012, there wasn't a really healthy dessert option. When this space was available, I thought it would be a good fit since Honest Tom's Taco Shop was opening next door and my family lives nearby.

Q: How'd you finance it?

A: It's self-funded. I have a business partner, Vince Tseng. We invested at least $80,000 between us.

Q: What makes your Popsicles special?

A: We use local ingredients. Our dairy is from Maplehofe Dairy [in Lancaster County] and our nondairy is from Seven Stars Farms [in Phoenixville]. Produce is sourced through Common Market and Lancaster Farm Fresh. We don't use artificial dyes or syrups. Everything is made from scratch, except for the chocolate brownies from a local baker.

Q: How much are pops?

A: $3, tax included. We also have minipops for $1.50.

Q: The popular flavors?

A: Chocolate with salted caramel brownie is the best seller of our dairy flavors. As for nondairy, raspberry lemonade is very popular with kids. Mint chocolate chunk is also popular, and we use fresh mint instead of artificial flavors so it tastes and looks different from what's in a grocery store. If you don't like a taste, we will swap it out for another.

Q: Your customers?

A: We get lots of college kids from Penn and University of the Sciences, some Drexel. We also have great families, grad students and working professionals who support us.

Q: The biz model?

A: We have the retail store where we also make Popsicles. We have a food truck that goes around town to markets, and coolers, which we set up at a table with a tent at markets and street festivals. We also do corporate catering and special events.

Q: How's the revenue break out?

A: We're working to increase catering and special events, but I'd say 65 to 75 percent comes from the shop.

Q: How big a biz is this?

A: We have one full-time person and six part-timers.

Q: How do you market?

A: Mostly word-of-mouth, Facebook and Twitter. We don't do paid advertising. We won Vendy Awards [for food trucks] in the dessert category in 2012 and 2013.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman


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