Brandon Chandler is building his business in Orlando, one Popsicle stick at a time
Brandon Chandler is building his business in Orlando, one Popsicle stick at a time

Pop Parlour, a specialized Popsicle business run by Orlando's Brandon Chandler, is on the cusp of its biggest expansion: moving to the campus of the University of Central Florida.

Chandler's general contractor, M Paul Construction of Orlando, is in the process of looking for subcontractors for the $200,000 project, which is expected to begin in July and be complete in August, in time for the new school year. Process Architecture of Orlando is the architect.

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The 2,000-square-foot store will carry Popsicles made with fresh fruit and carrying names like avocado coconut, peaches and cream and watermelon mojito. They are modeled after paletas, Popsicles that are very popular in Latin America.

"We have a lot of fresh fruit in Florida, too, and we should be creative with it," Chandler said.

The UCF store will be Chandler's third and, he said, "is definitely a big step up for us."

UCF was looking for some kind of dessert option and chose Pop Parlour, Chandler said. The store will be attached to CFE Arena and he will be hiring about 15 employees, mostly students from the campus.

Construction will require a lot of freezers--regular ones, flash freezers to make the Popsicles, storage freezers and refrigerators.

"We think it's a good fit," said Ronnie Lamkin, general manager of the UCF Convocation Corporation, which owns the arena. "There are no frozen dessert places on the north end of the campus, and it's kind of unique."

The first Pop Parlour opened in Orlando two years ago on Central Boulevard, all on Chandler's savings. It is about 500 square feet and quite successful, Chandler said. "Right off the bat it was busy."

A second Pop Parlour in Winter Garden is much smaller but does well, he said.

Chandler's goal is to open more Pop Parlours, in Orlando and beyond and also add beer and wine at the shops.

Chandler, 29, said he got into the business when his current job got too dull. He was working in the software field and "couldn't see myself in a cubicle for the rest of my career," he said.

The company he worked for did a lot of business in Latin America and he "liked the idea of doing something healthy," making the Popsicle business a fit.

Chandler is still excited by the possibilities ahead of him and how his product measures up. "This is different than everything else you see around town," he said. "It is unique and fun. It's also requires quite a bit of juggling, but I feel pretty lucky to successfully be in business."

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