Bike-based ice cream business ‘pops’ up
Rachel Sprinkle-Strong might just have the perfect name for her bicycle-based ice cream business, Popcycle Creamery.
The 44-year-old Sacramentan recently bought a bicycle from a specialty shop in Portland, which has a freezer mounted on the front, which can hold enough of her artisinal ice cream to fit in more than 200 push-pop containers, and she’s already been hitting local events.
“I’m really going for pushing the envelope with the flavors,” she said.
Flavors include basil with honey and pine nuts, goat cheese and cherry, lavender honey, strawberry balsamic and lemon verbena.
“I try to use seasonal ingredients locally sourced whenever possible,” she said, adding that she uses mint from her garden and other produce from farmers markets.
The idea to do a mobile ice cream business harkens to her first job as a teenager in Ohio, when she helped a local ice cream parlor owner make ice cream. She later worked in ice cream shops and then spent 20 years in corporate communications.
She moved to Sacramento about 13 years ago, but a little more than a year ago, she was laid off from her job at Verizon.
That gave her the time and the motivation to get back to one of her passions.
“I was always into food,” she said. “I was looking at a food truck, but since it’s just me and no partner or investors, I looked at how to start small and turn it into something people will truly enjoy.”
On Wednesday, she catered some of her popsicles to local public relations firm Edelman for an office party.
“We kind of designed our own flavors,” Edelman Receptionist Kim Baker said. “We wanted a tropical theme, and she brought us mai tai, pineapple mojito and banana chocolate macadamia nut.”
The flavors, Baker said, were made without alcohol, and they were very close in taste to the drinks.
“They were great,” she said. “We were all looking at her list of flavors and deciding what we wanted next time.”
During this week’s Second Saturday Art Walk, Sprinkle-Strong will serve from 2 – 6 p.m. at Heart Clothing Boutique, located at 1903 Capitol Ave.
For the time being, Sprinkle-Strong said she is focusing her efforts on deliveries in downtown, Midtown and East Sacramento, with a minimum order requirement of six popsicles, priced at $3.50 each. The popsicles come in at just over 3 ounces of ice cream.
“I’m going to have rotating weekly flavors, but if you want 12 or more, you can pick your flavors from my list if the weekly flavor isn’t your cup of tea,” she said.
Sprinkle-Strong said her two-year plan is to expand into a food truck, with a retail location to follow within a year after that.
She makes the ice cream at a commercial kitchen in the Del Paso area, and she said the freezer on the bicycle is commercially insulated, and she uses dry ice to keep everything cold.
Kicking off the business in the summer was good timing, she added, though she anticipates being able to offer holiday flavors such as pumpkin and cranberry in the colder months.
She is also working with local caterers and wedding planners, and she said she hopes to be able to team up with local restaurants in the near future.
To contact Sprinkle-Strong, visit the Popcycle Creamery website.
“I was giving out samples at the Good Market on Sunday,” she said. “I ran out of my 300-plus samples, so hopefully that’s a good sign.”