Atlanta's Small Business King Of Pops Struggles During Pandemic
If you’ve ever spent time in Atlanta when the weather’s warm, you’ve probably seen the iconic, rainbow umbrellas on the King of Pops push carts.
Just last week, the artisanal popsicle company celebrated its 10th anniversary.
But now, like many small businesses, King Of Pops is facing uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s nearly impossible to sell popsicles while people are quarantined.
"It's been really challenging just because everything that you worked so hard to do and set up is kind of irrelevant," said Steven Carse, one of the founders of the business. "We sell popsicles out of pushcarts at large events. [It's] the core of our business, and those large events just don’t exist."
He says the company has taken a huge financial hit.
"It's just that instead of being a $10 million company, we're fighting to be a three or four million dollar company," he said.
As a result, he’s also had to lay off more than half of his employees.
"The first Saturday when it was 75 degrees out and a perfectly sunny spring day, and I look around and I see our 50 pushcarts sitting with pollen gathered on them. Just, I don’t know if heartbreaking is the right word?"
Carse was laid off from a corporate job in 2009 during the recession. After that, he started King of Pops. Now, 10 years later, it seems like everything has come full circle.
"I believe that so strongly, like my neural pathways, for the idea that good will come from bad things," he said. "So, I'm still very much believing in that."
Meanwhile, the company is trying to make up for some of the losses by doing a lot more deliveries, partnering with local Southern businesses to get their products to people’s homes.