Help PopCycle Buy a Commercial Kitchen Space
PopCycle started off as a silly summer project. My (now) husband (whom I met in a hostel in Nicaragua) and I had just returned to Alaska after traveling all over the world for two years. As anyone who has experienced wanderlust can attest to, the feeling is not easily shaken off. Even though I was no longer on the go, the transition back to the real world was a bit of a shock and a challenge. I had left a desk job to travel and when I returned to Alaska I knew I couldn’t go back. Ask anyone who knows me and they'll tell you I've always been better at a kitchen counter than at a desk anyway. I love cooking and feeding people. In university I studied hospitality and for a long time that is what I thought I would pursue professionally. But working long hours in kitchens and restaurants made me not want to cook at home. And so, PopCycle was born! It is a hybrid of foodie love and home food love, with just a pinch of the perpetual movement that reminds me of being on the road. I can feed the masses without losing the spark that inspires me to come home at the end of a day and feed the people I love.
In order to sell my Pops I have to produce them in a commercially licensed kitchen. Right now PopCycle operates out of a commercial kitchen space that can only be rented in the middle of the night. Not only is this bad for my beauty sleep, it is logistically and spatially challenging for PopCycle’s operations. My goal on KickStarter is to raise money to purchase a mini commercial kitchen in the form of a mobile trailer, which would allow me to have kitchen space available 24/7. The trailer would be outfitted with electricity, plumbing, ample freezer space and all the equipment needed to make Pops. Most of the time the trailer would happily hang out at the house working away; however, having a mobile unit would also give me the option of taking PopCycle on road trips to events that cannot be reached by bicycle, such as the Girdwood Forest Fair and the State Fair in Palmer.
WHY IS BUYING A FOOD TRAILER IMPORTANT?
·Increased Productivity and Higher Quality Product
Having a commercial kitchen solely dedicated to PopCycle would allow me to make MORE pops and experiment with more flavors! No more sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night to borrow kitchen space to produce pops. I will be able to use my kitchen any time I want to create more of the tried and true recipes my customers have come to love as well as to experiment with creating new flavors and taste experiences! As a lovely customer of the Spenard Farmer's Market can tell you, more PopCycles are definitely a good thing (she actually teared up while enjoying a Key Lime Pie Pop!).
There are some super awesome laws in Alaska that would allow me to have my mini commercial kitchen in my very own backyard (YAH!). This means that the kitchen would be literally steps away from the garden that is producing Pop ingredients. It doesn’t get much fresher or cleaner than that!
·Commitment to PopCycle's Sustainability Goals
One of my goals from the beginning with PopCycle was to make it as sustainable as possible. Having a kitchen space located in the heart of it all would allow me to meet my goals developing PopCycle as a green, sustainable, community oriented business. I don't want to have to use a car (unless we are going farther from Anchorage than Millie can reasonably travel) to bring a Spiced Carrot Cake Pop to someone who would be otherwise deprived. Luckily, Anchorage's brilliant trail system and our downtown location allow PopCycle to get virtually everywhere powered only by Millie and my little legs. Walking steps from the garden that grows nutrient rich, compost loved ingredients to the kitchen to make healthy, fresh, and nutritious treat options for locals allows me to move even farther in this direction. With my Pops I hope to impress upon people, especially the young people that will grow up here and someday contribute to the community themselves, that there is a way to exist and contribute in a way that is sustainable and feel/tastes good. Even our chickens are part of the PopCycle process; they get the fibrous bits of rhubarb left over from the mill process as well as other little nibbles from the fruit and vegetables that go in to the Pops. I like to ride around knowing that I am not only making your tummy happy but also Mama Earth.
·Continued Community Involvement and Support
All in all, I want PopCycle to be able to use and give back to as many community resources as possible. By keeping my business as local as possible I will be able to provide the community with as much support as it has given to me! PopCycle really got it's start at the Spenard Farmer's Market. It provided me with a population who not only wanted to try new things but support the small businesses of our community. I met more people who not only bought a Pop from me, but told me how grateful they were for what I was doing! That encouragement is what really made me believe that I was doing something worthwhile for not only myself but the community. I love Alaska and I especially love where we live in Anchorage. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the thriving community of growers, makers, self-starters and consumers who choose to keep the cycle going.
My campaign using KickStarter as a funding source for PopCycle is to raise one half of the finances I need to make the mini commercial kitchen a reality. I am a huge believer in accountability and the other half of the kitchen cost will be provided exclusively by my own nickels and dimes, no exceptions. My savings as well as all profits from PopCycle's first season of business in 2012 are going into this project. I am not naïvely taking on this project without considering the full range of potential failures, successes and responsibilities. PopCycle started with bare bones; a rusty bike, a can of spray paint, a lot of elbow grease, late nights and more rebuffs than I care to count made me fully realize the worth in working hard to get up every morning and do what you love.
The perfect way to get excited about all the gardening you are going to do this summer! Arn't these garden markers amazing? Every single one will be hand stamped and polished with loving care. Annie (huge supporter of kickstarter projects) from Bella Boutique is helping me create these. She has a magic touch with all things handmade. I wanted to photograph them in their actual habitat but alas, it is still snowy here. Cute fabric will have to do!
All of my brain space for the last few weeks has been taken up thinking about PopCycle, this campaign, how I want to give back, what rewards to give, and how to continue the cycle. Cycle-what a wonderful word. PopCycle, bicycle, recycle. After dinner with some friends, turned into a conversation about worm composting my brain really started to go into overdrive. We already have a compost pile but I want to compost more without too much more space dedication. I also do not want to contribute negatively by purchasing a container to compost in. So, I started making calls, and more calls. Alaska Waste has a remarkable man working for them named Dennis. Dennis loves composting and runs the third largest composter in Alaska. He gave me a tour of the composter and even showed me where they make biodiesel to run all of their garbage trucks. Dennis has agreed to donate some of their broken/cracked rolling trashcans. My plan is to make these beauties into your very own mobile composting unit, which I am calling GrowCycle. I am adding a reward level for your very own GrowCycle; however, if you want a GrowCycle bin in addition to another reward level add $70 to your donation and let me know that is what you want. I will be offering a few different colors for your GrowCycle. When the campaign is over I will send you a questionnaire to decide what color you want. Just think of all the goodness you are going to make this summer!
$12,550 Cooler than ever
Right now Millie is outfitted with two small coolers on her sidecar. When Millie goes out this season she'll have an updated cool-box with a larger capacity so more people can enjoy PopCycles before I have to dash back to the freezer.
PopCycle will be hitting the road! Meeting this goal allows me to pay for fuel charges, fees (event fee and additional insurance) and extra hands to make attendance at the Forest Fair in Girdwood, Alaska a reality.
$15,100 Garden Mania
I love to garden, but I only like to grow things that I can eat. I already grow a portion of what goes in the pops but this stretch goal would give me the funds to revamp my garden so I can grow more delicious ingredients to go into the Pops that you love. I would be able to hire some able bodied neighborhood teenagers to labor away, planting more rhubarb, raspberries, apple trees, strawberries, currents, and other Alaskan tolerant fruit. I am swooning at the thought of harvesting more ingredients in the yard and simply walking them over to the mini kitchen to make it all happen. Oh man, that sounds so perfect.
$16,500 Frozen Delights in the Freezing Winter
Want PopCycle available to you all winter?? If we make this goal I will be able to keep PopCycle going in the winter for special orders.Of, course I will be a bit limited in flavors during the dark, cold winter but something is better than nothing! And Alaskans do love their frozen treats!
$17,250 Millie's getting a baby sister!
Even though Millie was such a trooper last season I don't want her to be an only child.With this goal met she'll get a baby sister (maybe in my favorite color mustard yellow) to keep her company as she pedals the streets and trails of Anchorage.
$18,700 + A little see through structure
If you insist on being this generous then I'm going to pay you back by getting a head start. No not steroids, I'll be investing in a larger and less unsafe greenhouse for the garden. Not that the one my husband built for me just last year isn't beautiful (in its own way), but I'd rather not run the risk of getting tetanus from a rusty nail as I tend my starts. This greenhouse will turn Alaskan spring into Californian summer and allow me to branch out into some more exotic flavors.
Forgive me for not being as enthusiastic as usual in the video, I was super nervous. Please know that in real life I am AWESOME.
Risks and challenges
PopCycle's first season was even more successful that I could have anticipated. Millie and I reached goals with our business that we didn’t know were possible, especially for such a new venture. People chased me down in their cars for Pops, I sold Pops to almost all of the hot dog vendors downtown, and I sold out almost every week at the farmer’s markets. PopCycle was featured on the Cooking Channel’s Chuck's Eat the Streets and was written up in multiple articles including Facebook Stories and local Anchorage newspapers, and even had the opportunity to cater its first corporate event. But most importantly, PopCycle and I made a lot of people happy. Really happy, grinning smile, taken back to their childhood happy.
Taking this next step with my business is scary. It isn't just a silly summer project anymore. It is what I want and love and feel passion for. My biggest risk and challenge is not getting funded. I have everything lined up, ready and waiting for funding. The trailer has been selected and a down payment made, plan reviews have been submitted to the Health Department, shipping has been organized, equipment has been scoped out, Development Services has given me the go ahead and summer is nearly here! Kickstarter, as you probably know, is all or nothing. If I don't make this funding goal there will be a lot of very sad people. Don't let the people down, support PopCycle!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (22 days)