When embarking on a new relationship, some couples take up a shared hobby or binge watch a television show together. Spouses Chris Weber and Katy Gerdes went a more ambitious route: They started a popsicle business.
“After dating for a couple months, I became kind of jealous of her because she was doing dessert development for her mother’s restaurant,” said Weber. “She was having a great time experimenting with stuff, and I was like, ‘I want to do some of this too!’”
“One night we started Googling gummy bear recipes and an image of gummy bears in a popsicle appeared. Katy said she had always wanted to start a popsicle cart in Minneapolis.”
The idea resonated with Weber, too, so the couple developed a business plan and launched Frio Frio. Over the next several years, the popsicle cart became a fixture at Twin Cities street fairs, festivals, weddings and events.
When Angel Food Bakery & Donut Bar — which Gerdes co-owns — recently relocated to the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park, the space offered enough room to expand Frio Frio: the front two-thirds of the shop is Angel Food, and the back third is Frio Frio.
Due to pandemic-related supply and labor shortages, Frio Frio’s opening was postponed from May to mid-September. “We’re making the best of it,” said Weber. “The St. Louis Park community is just amazing. We’re busier than I thought we’d be at this time of year, which is very encouraging.”
Currently, Frio Frio offers a rotating selection of about 20 ice lollie flavors, many of which are gluten-free, dairy-free and/or vegan. “We try to focus on fresh, natural ingredients,” said Weber. “We have unique flavor combinations; it’s not just strawberry, we do strawberry balsamic basil. We try to make them approachable for kids, but interesting for adults as well.”
In addition to strawberry balsamic basil, the shop’s best sellers include avocado lime and the Piñata, which features a lemon-lime base, gummy bears, and sprinkles.
Weber credits a variety of inspirations for Frio Frio’s unique flavors, ranging from Gerdes’ talents as a pastry chef and her Puerto Rican heritage, to the SoBe juice drinks he enjoyed during his teenage years. “My favorite was grapefruit carrot, so I thought that would be a good combination. Katy tuned in the taste on it.” Eventually it hit the menu as a grapefruit carrot ginger ice lollie.
Now that Frio Frio has a brick and mortar location, Weber is looking forward to adding more products to the menu, like shaved snow (shaved ice cream with toppings), black rice bowls (a rice pudding-style treat) and, possibly, liege waffles. Cocktails are also on the horizon. “We do have a liquor license and we’ve made good friends in the bar industry. We’d like to collaborate with them and do batch cocktails.”
“I’m excited for the whole vision to come together,” he said. “There’s a lot of fun we can have with the brand.”
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