“Fresh frozen fun”: Frios Gourmet Pops opens location in Trussville
By Nathan Prewett
For the Tribune
TRUSSVILLE — Sick of the corporate world, Andy Harp decided to go into a cooler line of work.
That’s how Harp’s company, Frios, came about, according to Franchise Operations Director Skip Hale. Since its opening four years ago in Gadsden, Frios now has stores in six other states, including a newly established location in Trussville.
Nestled between Jimmy John’s and ATI Physical Therapy at Homestead Village shopping center, Frios is operated by Amanda Garrett, her husband Matt Garrett and Teri Lee. Frios is a new addition to a growing business center that has seen the opening of Hobby Lobby, Alabama Outdoors and a slew of food options.
“One of our mottos is ‘Fresh frozen fun,” Hale said. “We try to get it as fresh as we can. It’s a fun product and the kids enjoy it. People don’t understand until you eat a pop what a gourmet pop is.”
“Gourmet” popsicles is not something you hear of a lot— at least not in the U.S. The word “popsicle” may conjure up images of the boxed variety you find in the frozen section at the grocery store, made of artificial flavors that mimic the taste of cherry, banana, chocolate and other flavors you might expect. However, Hale and Executive Chef Rebecca Handley at Frios say that with gourmet pops you get a much different product.
“We use as much local produce as we can get from local farmers,” Handley said. “Our pink lemonade is very simple: Water, organic cane sugar, farm fresh strawberries with lemon juice. We try to keep as many preservatives out of the process as possible.”
The types of flavors are divided into “fruity” and “creamy,” which is milk and dairy-based products. Other flavors are pink lemonade, mango orange, cookies and milk, ginger bread, caramel apple and many others. A menu can be found on Frios website.
“We’ve got things like banana pudding, key lime pie,” Hale said. “You have flavors where there’s a graham cracker in the middle, the banana pudding has vanilla wafers and that’s all pretty much new to Alabama.”
The word, “Frios” is a play on the Spanish word for “cold.” Harp and Hale drew influence from South American countries like Brazil, where gourmet pops are common. In fact, many of the machines and equipment that Frios uses are ordered directly from Brazil.
“We use local produce and farmers when we can,” Hale said. “We use milk from Working Cows Dairy — that’s Alabama’s own organic dairy — once we make them here we ship them out to locations. We’ve grown so much and it’s been a whirlwind ride over the last few years.”
Other locations include Florida, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, Montana and Maryland. Frios started out with hand-making around 100 pops a day, but with its expansions that number has grown to more than 7,000 a day, Handley said. The expansion into Trussville started with the Garretts visiting Gadsden.
“We were in Gadsden one day; my wife and I were with some friends,” Matt Garrett said. “They asked us to go in and get some popsicles, so I said, ‘Sure.’ We went in and she got the nutter butter and I got the banana pudding and I thought, ‘Man, I think Trussville could probably do good with something like this.’ We just wanted to bring something like this to the community.”
The Garretts are active in local community and church events where they’ve donated pops to sell in order to raise funds for charitable campaigns. In addition to getting involved in local events, the Trussville location of Frios will offer catering as well, for birthdays, weddings and pretty much any occasions where pops may be called for.
“The Garrets are a great example of what we look for in owners,” Harp said in a statement. “They are committed to the communities they serve and involved in strong civic and charitable organizations. As a resident of the Trussville metro in the mid ’90s, it’s been fun watching Trussville rapidly grow into the bustling and thriving community it is now. And I am honored that Frios is becoming a part of its grown and development.”
Discounts are offered for veterans and first responders. A grand opening will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. and will offer a “buy one, get one free” special.