From pushcart to storefront, business is booming at Revolution Artisan Pops. Here’s why.
WHEN JAROD AND REBECCA DUNN were visiting Dallas, Texas, a few years ago they ran across a small shop selling homemade (and seriously yummy) popsicles. The idea was so simple and fresh that the couple couldn’t stop thinking about it after they returned home. “We started wondering if a similar concept would work in Fort Collins,” says Jarod.
Soon Dunn, a CSU doctoral candidate, was testing out different flavors in ice cube trays, popping toothpicks into the little squares and handing them out to colleagues to taste. When he added fruits from a local farm to the icy treats, his informal test subjects responded unanimously: Delicious!
That’s when he and Rebecca knew they had a viable business idea.
“After plenty of trial and error, I eventually figured out the secret ingredient that made it work.”
“When we opened Revolution Artisan Pops in the summer of 2015, we wanted to use as many local ingredients as possible,” Dunn says. “So our cream comes from Morning Fresh Dairy, our tea from Happy Lucky Teahouse, our coffee from Harbinger Coffee and of course our fruits are from local farms.” All that local goodness, plus the fact that the company doesn’t use preservatives or dyes, makes for a treat that’s not only natural and refreshing but the antithesis of syrupy or artificially sweet.
Their orange dreamsicle pop, for instance, has just five ingredients. “It took me forever to perfect that recipe. I needed to highlight the orange flavor without overpowering it,” Dunn says. “After plenty of trial and error, I eventually figured out the secret ingredient that made it work.” While he’s not willing to spill those trade secrets, he does admit his background making craft cocktails as a bartender for four years has helped him hone his ability to concoct tasty flavor combinations and experiment with new ones. That’s probably why the Revolution Artisan Pops menu reads like a foodie dream, with flavors such as raspberry hibiscus, lemon and ginger, watermelon lime, and coffee and sweet cream. Ultimately, Dunn says, before adding any new flavors to their lineup, “I have to love it first.”
Although the Dunns originally envisioned a mobile popsicle cart in Old Town, the permitting turned out to be prohibitive. So for the first couple of years they rented space in a commissary kitchen for production and carted their mobile operation to community events and markets around town, building a following along the way. But by the spring of last year, they had grown enough to need their own space. “The location we found was actually much bigger than what we needed for popsicles alone,” Dunn says. “So we were trying to figure out how to make use of it all when we came up with Revolution Market.”
That market, located near the intersection of Olive and Mason Streets, now not only houses all production for their popsicles, it also has made-
to-order food, a selection of grocery staples and prepared take-home meals, all of which feature local ingredients. Building on that philosophy, the Dunns continued to establish partnerships with other regional producers, growers and makers, and now carry items from more than 40 Colorado businesses at their market storefront.
Jarod and Rebecca’s commitment to starting and staying local has made all the difference in their success. Their familiar popsicle cart still makes the rounds at community events, fun runs, art walks and craft fairs, not to mention seven farmers markets each week. Their pops have a permanent home in the two quick-serve stores inside CSU’s dining halls, and Dunn is working on bringing individual popsicle sales to other grocers’ grab-and-go departments. In a few years he says he could see them moving production to an even larger, separate facility on the south side of town. “But keeping things local and sustainable… that’s what got us here,” he says. “And that’s not going away.” revolutionartisanpops.com
Don’t Miss: Revolution Pops We’re Obsessed With
Nuance Dark Chocolate: Creamy goodness great to-go for a stroll around town
Lemon and Ginger: Expectant moms’ new best friend
Watermelon Lime: A favorite post-run refresher
Orange Dreamsicle: Swap this for lunch on a scorching summer day