Less than a year after setting up shop along Airdrie's Main Street, What’s Pop’n Pop Shop has received a silver in the Best of Airdrie Readers’ Choice Awards, in the category of best ice cream and dessert, for their customizable soft drink and ice cream options.
“Honestly, I didn’t really expect it,” said shop owner Barb Stanford. “I mean, there’s so many great places in town that have ice cream and dessert, so that was exciting to hear that were even nominated, let alone won the silver.”
Stanford believes the shop was nominated due to its diverse menu and friendly staff.
“I think we just go out of our way to be friendly and [get] to know everyone,” she said.
With over 60 flavours of ice cream and syrup on offer, the business is a must-stop for any dessert lover. They even offer vegan soft serve and sugar-free options, so everyone has something to choose from.
The adjoining pop shop invites thirsty Airdronians to mix and match their favourite soft drink with uniquely flavoured syrup or even add ice cream to the drink to make it into a float.
What’s Pop’n staff serves up tasty eats as well, including nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, and baked goods.
The pop shop concept is a popular idea in the United States, which is where the inspiration for the thirst-quenching business idea stirred within Stanford.
“We had gone to the States before, where they have a ton of pop shops and [we] loved all of those and I just couldn’t quit thinking about it,” she said.
When she was ready to take the plunge, Stanford joined forces with a former high-school friend, who already owned a pop shop in Cardston, in southern Alberta. The two quickly became business partners and Stanford opened a location in Airdrie under the What’s Pop’n Pop Shop name.
Despite the popularity the stores have in the United States, many Canadians do not understand the pop-mixing experience, which is something Stanford said has been a challenge for the company.
“There are so many new [residents] that I don’t even think half of Airdrie knows who we are yet. We’re just really trying to get the word out and teaching people about pop … its been hard for people to kind of wrap their brain around it,” Stanford said.
However, Stanford is always excited to explain the concept to new customers and said her staff enjoys being adventurous about mixing new flavours and helping customers find a new favourite.
“We love seeing people’s reactions to trying our products and seeing how they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, that’s fun,” she said.
Already thinking of colder temperatures, What’s Pop’n will soon be launching fall-flavoured inspired milkshakes, as well as hot chocolate and coffee.
Further into the future, Stanford is hoping to one day expand the business and collaborate with other local companies as well.
“We’re hoping that we can do some great things,” she added.
With her eye on the prize, Stanford is hoping to achieve gold in the ice cream and dessert category in next year’s Best of Airdrie Readers’ Choice Awards by continuing to provide friendly service and offering a plethora of ice cream options for everyone.