A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of visiting one of POPS Artisanal Creamery ice cream shop in San Fernando, CA. After writing a travel blog spotlighting local businesses, I was eager to connect with the entrepreneurs calling the San Fernando Valley home. With that I want to give a huge thanks to the visionary behind POPS Artisanal Creamery, Marinth Ken. He hosted me for a special tasing and visit to talk all things ice cream, the future of his family’s ice cream business, and to let me know about how POPS is growing its menu to invite more Angelenos to try their one-of-a-kind artisanal frozen desserts.
The day I visited POPS was a warmer day, perfect for taste-testing dozens of ice creams. Upon arrival to the San Fernando shop you notice a different vibe than most other business on Maclay St. “Blue jeans and a T shirt, that’s who I am and that’s why this shop looks like that,” said Ken when summarizing the style of POPS Artisanal Creamery San Fernando shop. The cool blue tone and modern accents, like the wood accents and brick wall, make POPS feel a boutique that’s been transported from NYC. That is to say, this local ice cream shop in the San Fernando Valley invites people across generations and demographics.
As I learned in my conversation with Ken, a vision for POPS was an ice cream shop with flavors and an aesthetic that celebrated a diversity of influences. Many of the small business and the local restaurants in Los Angeles often tie themselves to the demographics of the community. In San Fernando many of the dining and dessert spots emphasize their Latinx and Hispanic influences. POPS Artisanal Creamery embraces is unique in how its array includes classic ice cream flavors, Latinx/Hispanic inspired flavors, and flavors that I have not seen at many other San Fernando valley-based ice cream shops. For example, POPS has an horchata flavor, a flavor expected in this community. And the menu also includes a personal favorite, a lavender flavor, which is very hard to get done just right.
When I started the tasting at POPS Artisanal Creamery, Ken invited me to begin with strawberry. Starting off with a classic ice cream flavor like strawberry was intentional as it primed my palette to experience what made POPS stand out as a small business to support in the Los Angeles area. “In L.A. it’s about mixing up the classics,” said Ken as he told me about the classic flavors and growing selection at POPS Artisanal Creamery. The strawberry ice cream at POPS was smooth, it went down like velvet, and I even tasted the berries natural juices. Each batch of ice cream at POPS is individually made with ingredients sourced from other small business. From the skill of six generations of ice cream makers to the flavors inspired by Ken’s Belizean culture, POPS Artisanal Creamery is a must-visit shop for a sweet treat and an even sweeter experience.
During our tasting, Ken shared me a point that made him stand out from other entrepreneurs in the Los Angeles area. “When you have a plan don’t focus on the how - focus on the journey,” said Ken near the end of our tasting. His mantra stuck with me. In my full-time job in marketing for film/TV I deal with a lot of people obsessed with how to get things done, sometimes taxing the process itself. Even in the other industries I’ve grazed in my work, I meet so many entrepreneurs obsessed with costs rather than the quality of their service and vision.
POPS Artisanal Creamery has an impressive Instagram following, check it out here, and it has grown its engagement and level without any outside help. People follow POPS because people love what they get at this family-owned ice cream shop. The five-star ratings you see for POPS across Yelp, Google, and Facebook are from real people who make POPS part of their routine. And I’m beyond glad that I can share how POPS is further expanding its brand to invite even more Angelenos to experience its unique ice cream.
From the growing selection of fully vegan flavors, which thanks to Ken I learned how a “vegan” food truly needs to be vegan down to the sugar it uses, to the introduction of a coffee menu, POPS Artisanal Creamery is ready for a new wave of fans and customers. And as a coffee enthusiast, kudos to POPS for launching an affogato with the perfect complimentary coffee bean and roast. (My first affogato tasting was actually in Italy, and POPS Artisanal Creamery captured the essence from the coffee flakes to the miniature cups.) I left my visit of this small business to support with POPS super Instagrammable, and very delicious, coconut sundae.
I urge you to take a trip to POPS Artisanal Creamery when you’re in the San Fernando Valley. With POPS two locations in both San Fernando (450 N Maclay Ave, San Fernando, CA 91340) and Van Nuys (15355 Sherman Way Ste E, Los Angeles, CA 91406) this is a small business with a quality and service that is sure to win your follow and win you over with its delicious ice creams. Make sure to check out POPS Artisanal Creamery on Instagram @Popscreamery and give them a like on Facebook too!
Thanks for reading these Words by Will! See you in the next post!
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.