TUPELO • When Misty Coleman purchased Popsy two years ago, she quickly realized it was a seasonal business. Customers weren’t exactly knocking down the door to buy popsicles in the dead of winter.
“I started doing research on whole foods and realized quickly I could add healthy smoothies and fresh-pressed juices with the same ingredients I was using in popsicles,” she said. “I needed to have items that would allow me to have a steady business year-round.”
In March 2018, when she opened her storefront on Spring Street in downtown Tupelo, she added the smoothies and juices to the menu and both were met with success. Six months later, she started offering smoothie bowls, and that has been the game-changer.
“Smoothie bowls have catapulted me,” she said. “I’m having a hard time keeping up with demand. My sales have increased 10 times. People buy them in bulk and take them home and freeze them.”
Smoothie bowls, Coleman said, are basically the same thing as smoothies, but thicker. You use a spoon instead of a straw.
“They’re dairy-free, gluten-free whole foods,” she said. “There’s no sugar added so they’re naturally sweetened. There are no food dyes and no preservatives. We use local honey, locally made granola, fresh fruit in season. Nothing comes out of a can here. We juice all our own fruit.”
The best-selling smoothie bowl is the Acai, a base of pure organic acai, bananas, blueberries and juiced green apples that’s topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, homemade granola and almond butter. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) is a berry that’s grown in the Brazilian rain forest that’s similar to a blueberry but with more antioxidants, said Coleman, 42.
Other bowls are Pitaya, which is dragon fruit, bananas, mango and coconut milk; Mermaid, made with bananas, mango, blue spirulina (algea) and coconut milk; Tropical, made with bananas, mango, pineapple and coconut milk; and Green, which is spinach, avocado, bananas, mango, pineapple, flax seed and unsweetened almond milk. Each bowl is topped with the customer’s choice of two fruits and two toppings.
“I just think Tupelo is becoming more health-conscious,” said Coleman, who shares five children with her husband, Wilson. “They’re interested in what they’re feeding their bodies and they support what’s local. A lot of our customers come in after yoga class or cross-fit, but we also have a lot of little kids, who love the popsicles, and a good number of seniors. It’s not a specific genre of people – it’s a really interesting crowd.”
Coleman’s mother, Trina McGuire, makes all the popsicles for Popsy – about 2,500 a week. There are about 15 different flavors on any given day, including strawberry, cookies and cream, key lime pie, strawberry lemonade, buttermilk, and birthday cake.
“We sell them in different places in Tupelo, but we also deliver them weekly to cafes, gift shops and boutiques in the state,” she said. “We have popsicles in Columbus, Fulton, Ripley, Booneville, Starkville, Houston, Pontotoc – all the way to Greenwood.”
In the fall, when the weather turns cooler, Popsy may add a couple of seasonal items, like a hummus wrap and a homemade chicken turmeric soup.
“We don’t buy our ingredients, we make them,” Coleman said. “Everything here is fresh. We just really want people to know that food can be healthy and taste good, too.”