Emma has one of the most fun careers around – she makes popsicles! If you have been in Walton County for a while, you may be familiar with Swell Pops – the best pops around.
Emma was born and raised in Ft. Walton. She went to college in Dallas and taught kindergarten after she graduated. But after some time, she wanted to go back home. “All my family is in the Panhandle, except one sister who lives in Atlanta. I wanted to move back home.” Eventually, they did just that. Emma and her husband moved back to the area and Emma landed a job teaching 3rd grade at Destin Elementary School. But after some time, things fell into place for Emma and her career path changed. Her dream came true and she and her husband became owners of a popsicle company called Swell Pops.
So, did you always want to make popsicles? “Well, I was in Montgomery with my sister and after dinner she said, ‘Hey, let’s get a popsicle!’ Usually, you get ice cream after dinner, but I went with her to Steel City Pops, and I fell in love! I fell in love with the concept and the popsicles and I wanted to start a company of my own.”
How did Swell Pops get started? My brother and I had some dear friends, David and Haylee Huffman. They started the company about three years before we took over. My brother went to lunch with David one day and David mentioned that he was ready to sell Swell Pops. My brother told me about it and my husband and I bought the company.”
What are Swell Pops? “Swell Pops are gourmet popsicles. We use local sources as much as we can, such as the Honey Hutch, and we buy fruit from local farm markets. We use local ingredients to give the pops a sense of home. They are all natural and do not contain chemical preservatives, genetically modified organisms, hydrogenated oils or artificial colors or flavors. Just simple, natural popsicles.”
How did you learn to make popsicles? “David Huffman taught me. He came to the kitchen and walked me through the process. He stuck with me for a few days until I got it and was able to make them on my own. A lot of trial and error goes into making new pops, but it is a lot of fun. My family members are professional taste-testers!”
Where do you make Swell Pops? “I rent a commercial kitchen. In the mornings I make the popsicles, and in the afternoons, I deliver them to our clients. We have gotten so busy that I have hired two ladies to help me make the pops, so I am freed up to deliver. We make about 500 popsicles every morning!”
Where can we buy Swell Pops? “Right now, I mainly deliver to wholesalers from Watersound to Navarre. We also take care of events and catering. We provide Swell Pops for weddings, birthday parties, showers, corporate events, music festivals, etc. You can even order a box to keep in your freezer at home.”
What is the best-selling flavor? “Hands down it is Cookies and Cream. Everyone loves that flavor from children to grown men. Strawberry Lemonade and Mango Pineapple are close seconds. We have about 23 flavors so far and the list is growing. We just used my great-grandmothers recipe for banana pudding to make one of our newest flavors, it’s great!” If you don’t have time for breakfast, you can grab a yogurt parfait popsicle. It is made with Greek yogurt, honey, fresh fruit and granola.”
Are Swell Pops only for people? “No! We have Pupsicles. These are popsicles for dogs. They are made with fruit and dog treats. The stick is a raw hide so dogs can eat the entire pop. They love them!”
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? “I would love to have my own Swell Pops store. I would still sell to wholesalers, but I would like to have my own hub. I would also like to get Swell Pops into Whole Foods stores.”
What is on your bucket list? “We are building a new home in Point Washington, so I want to move in and start a family. I also love to travel. I want to go everywhere, all places. I got the travel bug from my parents. Ireland and Scotland are first on my list.”
What do you like about Walton County? “I really love the local people. They are good people. What is great about this area is that every where you go you see people you know, and at the same time you can meet new people.”
You can check out all the delicious flavors on their website https://www.swellpops.com/