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When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Popsicles

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Why you should care

Because frozen treats that combat food waste taste even better.

As it turns out, money can buy happiness, just not in the ways you might think. This is “More of What You Love,” a collaboration between OZY and Ally Financial to highlight the people who are not only doing good business, but doing what they love and finding innovative ways to fund their passion projects.

Sometimes, modesty isn’t called for. “We sell the best popsicles on Earth,” says Nick Carse, who founded King of Pops with his brother after the latter was laid off during the financial crisis and they took a trip to Central America.

When life gives you lemons and you get laid off from a job in that corporate world, you can turn it into lemonade.

 

There they saw frozen treats everywhere — colorful, vibrant, delicious. Inspired by the Mexican paleta, made from day-old fruit that had been passed over at the market, the brothers saw an opportunity that would help address the enormous problem of food waste in America.

“We decided that when life gives you lemons and you get laid off from a job in that corporate world, you can turn it into lemonade, literally and figuratively,” says Carse.

The initial financial challenges of starting a business were basic. Carse and his brother had to figure out how to pay bills, pay taxes, hire employees. They’ve expanded their business acumen by going to classes, and by finding sympathetic people with expertise who are willing to share their knowledge and offer advice. Over eight years, their empire has expanded from a single popsicle cart in a gas station to 200 carts and 18 businesses.

While Carse refers to his business as a “community builder,” he says the greatest driver — the sole reason for being in the popsicle game — is that he’s offering a product that gives his customers and employees unexpected moments of happiness.

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