ST. GEORGE — A small business entrepreneur couldn’t pick a more challenging time to begin a start-up endeavor.
Given recent COVID-19 concerns and their impacts on businesses across the country, some people would find it daunting to open a new business to customers – let alone starting something untested.
However, 23-year-old St. George resident Jurey Beddes, a business major at Dixie State University, says he finds these challenges not as walls that limit potential success but as bridges to cross in order to take advantage of boundless opportunities.
Beddes recently hit the road with Popskis Handmade Popsicle truck.
The business model for a restaurant on wheels is simple, he said: Give people something they like, and what else is more “universally loved” than a popsicle?
Popskis Handmade Popsicle offers customers a “gourmet” frozen sweet treat served out of a 1965 International Harvester that has been converted into a food truck.
Beddes’ favorite flavor is strawberry lemonade, but other flavors include coconut, mango, strawberry cream and coffee, with possible drizzles of milk chocolate and white chocolate and optional toppings such as Oreos, graham crackers, almonds, toasted coconut, sea salt and the quintessential kid-favorite sprinkles. And for a little something off the beaten path, there is also Tajin spice — a blend of mild chili peppers, lime and sea salt.
Although Beddes has been ready to open for nearly six months, he chose the approach to summer and its triple-digit temperatures to put up the awnings on his truck.
“I am excited,” he said.
It’s a sentiment shared by one 7-year-old girl who hurriedly devoured her popsicle as temperatures soared above 95 degrees Wednesday.
“Yummy,” she said. “This is really good. I’m happy grandma brought me here.”
Beddes said he is pleased his business has been so well received, and with the support of his wife, Tanner, he said the sky is the limit.
The genesis of the business came during a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Kansas .
As a Spanish speaking missionary, Beddes was introduced to the paletas-style of popsicles adored by the Hispanic population. Paletas are different from regular popsicles; they are made with fresh fruit – and lots of it. They are also less sweet than their United States’ cousin.
After his mission, Beddes moved to Texas, where popsicles still had the Mexican flair but represented something more familiar to the American palate. Beddes’ version is more akin to the traditional fruity and creamy versions found in Mexico.
“This is where the idea came from,” Beddes said. “I already loved them in Kansas, and St. George’s weather is similar to Texas where they were very popular.”
It took approximately one year to get his plan on the ground, and even given the universal popularity of the frozen treat, Beddes said it has been more work than he anticipated, including purchasing the truck, getting inspections and permits and testing flavors.
But this year it finally all came together, fulfilling Beddes’ dream since high school to become a business owner.
“I realize that many businesses fail no matter what the challenges,” he said. “But this is a good time for me to do this.”
With a dedicated spirit and some elbow grease, Beddes said, so far it’s been worth the effort.
To future entrepreneurs, his message is to not give up on the dream.
“It’s important to find someone you can lean on,” he said. “You have to be able to talk about the numbers and be completely honest with yourself, not to be afraid of failure or setbacks. If you do fail, keep on grinding on to the next obstacle. There will always be other opportunities.”
Although customers will be able to find Popskis at many Southern Utah events once those events are permitted to resume, the truck is currently parked in the Hurst Ace Hardware parking lot at 160 N. Bluff St. from noon to 10 p.m., Monday – Saturday (or until sold out).
If this location becomes less profitable, Beddes said he will relocate, but for now – possibly for the next month or more – this will be his home away from home.
To verify the truck’s location visit @popskisfoodtruck on Instagram.
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