Humans of Danforth East: Kari from The Pop Stand

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Here is Kari and a group of friends at her favourite festival, Hillside.  Kari is the one in blue, furthest to the right.

 

Meet Kari.  She’s funny, creative, and can make a mean popsicle.

She’s the owner of The Pop Stand at Danforth and Woodington.

Blueberry pie.  Cherry Bourbon Sour.  Coconut and cinnamon.  London fog with lavender.  Grapefruit Campari and Mint.  Strawberry milkshake… she’s come up with over 200 different flavour combinations and you’ll want to try them all.

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Inspired by pie and chutney recipes, and her extensive bar knowledge (she used to bartend in pubs), Kari usually has a 20 flavour rotation based on what’s seasonal and fresh in our area. Selling her pops at various farmers markets each week, she’s surrounded by local fruit and herbs to use in her next batch.  With delicious strawberries, along with tart lemon juice and organic cane sugar, she creates her strawberry lemonade popsicle.   Simple.  Pure.  Refreshing.

If you’ve ever tried one of Kari’s creations, you’d be surprised to find out that she doesn’t have a formal background in the food industry. She’s a small town girl from Newcastle, Ontario who’s always had a love for all things creative and entrepreneurial.   At six years old she was selling popcorn in her driveway and going down to the creek to get clay so she could make little teapots and sell them to the neighbours.  She’s never been short of ideas.

During a fun road trip to Nashville with a friend, they came across Las Paletas — a place known for their authentic Mexican ice pops.  Although the shop was closed and they didn’t get to try them, the idea stuck.  Years later, after selling her clothing shop at Queen and Greenwood, she decided that she wanted to try something new (she had studied fashion design in London, England, just one of two university degrees she has.)  It was late one night when the idea of ice pops literally ‘popped’ back into her head.

She found an ice cream cart on Kijiji and started passing out her popsicles in front of the pub where she worked.  She vividly remembers overhearing two men in their mid 50’s / 60’s, sitting and chit chatting about million dollar real estate deals while trying each other’s popsicles.  It was like they were five years old again.  What did you get?! I got a Key Lime.  How’s that one?? It’s good! Try it!  They were like kids in a sandbox, eating each other’s lunches.  It was a hit and she was hooked.

From making popsicles in a commercial kitchen with manual molds and storing them in her parents freezers for big events, she now has her own storefront/work space and people to help her (Amie and Gillian).  Little by little, she’s investing in her business buying what she calls ‘game changers’ — a new freezing machine and a vehicle to get her cart to various events around the GTA and beyond.

Kari feels that the growth and success of her business is due to her amazing friends and family for supporting and encouraging her crazy ideas.  Growing up, her parents never put her ideas down.  They simply asked, “how are you going to do it?”

 

To Kari, there’s just something about popsicles that brings the kid out in all of us.  Suddenly barriers are dropped.  We’re simply enjoying a popsicle and everything else just goes away.   It’s that easiness of life that she loves.

 

This summer, stop in and meet Kari.  Check out her incredible selection and stock up on some poptails (her boozy popsicles) for entertaining your guests.

She’s very excited to meet everyone — people and puppies.  She loves dogs and hopes to spoil yours with some all natural pupsicles.

Watch for her red polka dot cart outside her shop.  She’s at 1686B Danforth Ave., directly across from the street from the TD bank.

 


You can follow Kari on Instagram @thepopstand
Place custom orders for your next party or corporate event at www.popstandtoronto.com
and see what she’s up to on Facebook and Twitter.

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