A new popsicle shop will open in West Philadelphia to satisfy foodies with some exotic flavors such as peanut butter and curry, Vietnamese coffee and cucumber lime mint.
Lil’ Pop Shop will soon be selling artisan popsicles at 44th and Spruce streets in a building that used to be Unitea. The shop will have a soft opening on May 1 and a grand opening on May 5.
According to owner Jeanne Chang, the shop is currently adding final touches to building renovations and waiting for the Philadelphia Health Department’s approval.
All the popsicles will be made on site using mostly local ingredients including dairy and produce.
The shop will offer flavors such as strawberry and yogurt, as well as more exotic ones such as mango sriracha and cherry lambic — a type of sour beer.
“They’re refreshing, fairly healthy and delicious,” Chang said.
Chang is a pastry chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. She has worked in many kitchens from cafes to restaurants around the country. She moved from California to North Carolina and has been living in West Philadelphia since last September.
The idea of opening a popsicle shop first came to Chang when she was in North Carolina. Her inspiration came from Locopops, a gourmet frozen pops shop with three locations in North Carolina.
“I wanted to combine my passion for food and open up a small business as an entrepreneur,” Chang said.
She envisions Lil’ Pop Shop to be friendly and welcoming with something for everybody.
She is targeting students from Penn and Drexel University, as well as families in the neighborhood, especially those with children.
Although she is still unsure of exactly how she will market the store, Chang said she hopes to attract local bloggers to sample the popsicles at the grand opening and that word of mouth will help to advertise her business.
Beginning in May, Lil’ Pop Shop will also operate a food cart circulating the West Philadelphia neighborhood and its universities. The cart will also be available for catered events.
The truck, Chang believes, will help market the shop and spread the word.
“I feel like there’s already some interest in the shop,” Chang said.
However, students have mixed opinions on whether it will be successful. “I think it’s definitely unique,” Wharton junior Jessica Liu said, adding that she might give it a try. “If it’s new, it’s going to get a lot of hype at first.” However, the success of the shop will depend on the quality of the popsicles, Liu said.
College junior Zachary King is unsure about Lil Pop Shop’s success among students. “I don’t really eat popsicles,” he said, adding that he does not believe they are hugely appealing to college students.
Engineering freshman Ted Brochu said he will probably not go, though he thinks other students will like it.
Both Brochu and King also noted that 44th Street is quite far away from Penn’s campus. Most students do not go past 43rd Street, King said.
College senior Brianna Fram agreed, but does not see much of a problem for the shop over the summer when many students are away. She thinks the shop will attract the permanent residents of the neighborhood.
Chang is not sure how her business will fare over the summer with a low volume of students on campus. She is hoping that “the families will support the business,” and that students will visit more when the school year starts again.