MBJ: Mempops makes new hire; expansion plans on the horizon
“A Memphis barbecue veteran has transitioned to popsicles.
JC Youngblood, formerly with Central BBQ is now part of the growing team at Mempops, the all-natural, handcrafted popsicle business founded in April 2015 by owner, Chris Taylor.
Now part of that growing business, Youngblood is primarily responsible for booking and managing off-site events as well as handling the Mempops social media.
With multiple popsicle carts, a retro blue mail truck and a matching airstream trailer, those off-site events can reach double digits in a given week.
Last week for example, they made 8,000 popsicles for the FedEx St. Jude Classic – they typically sell about 5,000 a week. And this week, Billy Gardell from Million Dollar Quartet bought popsicles for the entire cast and crew.
“It is an adventure every day,” Youngblood said.
Since starting in 2015, Mempops has gone from being solely run by Taylor and his wife to a staff of about 15 people. In March 2016, Mempops opened its first brick and mortar store at the Park Place Centre at 1243 Ridgeway Road and the business already has plans for additional locations.
Youngblood said while nothing is finalized, they would like to open two more stores by spring 2017.
Some of the areas they have their eyes on are Cordova, Downtown, the Edge District and the Crosstown Concourse.
Youngblood said the amount of customer traffic they get at their current store was completely unexpected.
“The thinking on getting this store was OK, we will have the store, we will crank out all these popsicles for all these events and we will have a few left to sell at the location,” Youngblood said. “Maybe we will get a few customers a day. It has turned out that we can’t keep up with the people coming in.”
They are also exploring the possibility of eventually opening a hub kitchen, as well as having a presence in smaller local grocery stores like Curb Market in Midtown and Miss Cordelia’s Grocery in Harbor Town.