“If you can pick it, we can pop it,” says Kentisha Ward, owner and proprietor of PopStop242, the Bahamian popsicle manufacturer. The local start-up offers delicious gourmet ice treats made from 100 per cent Bahamian grown fruits, with no preservatives.
Ward says that while launching the business had always been an idea of hers, it did not materialize until she found herself among the more than 2,000 persons made redundant at the Baha Mar resort on Cable Beach in October 2015, where she had held the position of front office manager at the SLS Lux.
“It’s an interesting story of how I got started. It was always an idea I had in my head but it was only until I was made redundant I decided to go ahead with the business. Once you have three degrees in a country like this it makes you kind of overqualified,” says Ward who holds degrees in international business, global leadership and business management.
“That’s a word you hate to hear,” says Ward who lived in the United States for a decade before receiving a call from Baha Mar to take up a job opportunity at home.
“I went on dozens of interviews and was told so many times I was overqualified and was told I should probably take my degrees off my resume. I realized that maybe I should do something on my own and empower other people and employ them to be just as hard working as I am and thats how PopStop got started,” says Ward, adding, “I had to make something out of nothing.”
“We have all natural gourmet popsicles. We have flavors like soursop, sapodilla, mango, tamarind, sugar apple and coconut water. if you can pick it we can pop it. right now we offer about 10-15 flavors. They change during season. we try to offer the freshest fruit during that season. During the summer season we are known for our tamarind pops, our soursop pops and also our sugar apple pops as soon as sugar apples come in. We do weddings, kids as well as adult parties. We offer non-alcoholic and alcoholic pops.”
Ward says that the response to the offering has been slower than expected but she appreciates that it is a new concept which might take a while to catch-on.
“Right now it’s just me running the business and when it comes to making of the popsicles I have the girls from my non-profit organization assisting me. Ward’s non-profit Preparing Our People (P.O.P) is geared toward young Bahamian women between the ages of 13-18. “Those are the young women that cut the fruit for my pops and if you go to different location you will see them marketing the pops as well. They see it from tree to finish product and then from sale to profit. Right now I want to see the business grow to the point where it is sustainable for the growth of my non-profit and for myself.”
As for what advice she would offer to budding entrepreneurs Ward says: “If you don’t like to work hard, continue to work for someone else. If you think you’re getting out of a stressful job, you’re not. Get used to staying awake a lot.”
You can find PopStop242 at Pompey Square on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.”Right now we retail to different outlets. We have places like Ms Daisy’s Sweet Shop in the Mall at Marathon, The Village Grocery Store on Paradise Island and we are working on a few more deals. We are looking for more retailers. Right now we’re working with about five or six,” says Ward.