Local College Students Make Their Business Idea Pop
Homegrown businesses and helping others are two of the things Minnesotans value most. Now a group of local college students are using those concepts to make their business idea pop.
The company is called JonnyPops. It was founded by four soon-to-be juniors at St. Olaf College and another student from the University of Wisconsin.
"A JonnyPop basically to me is like a gourmet frozen bar that features super high integrity ingredients that we make here in Minneapolis," said founder Erik Brust.
The popsicles are sold at farmer's markets and retailers across the metro, including both the Minnesota and Como Park Zoos. The product went for sale this spring and the company employs about 20 people.
Flavors include Coconut Pineapple Paradise, Merry Mountain Berry and Summer Strawberry.
The idea started to take form in 2007 when Brust was visiting his cousin Jonathan at college in North Carolina. The two discussed the beginning of a business plan but Jonathan, or Jonny, was never able to see it become a reality. He died at the age of 22, battling drug addiction.
Now, part of the proceeds support The Hazelden Foundation for drug treatment, where Jonathan sought help when he was struggling.
"It's also about raising awareness about the issue because addiction is still kind of a black sheep. It still kind of falls into that mental illness category that people don't really want to talk about," said founder Connor Wray.
"It's lightened up my life a lot, especially after the loss of Jonathan which was sort of a darker point," Brust said.
JonnyPops range in price from $2.25 to $3. Click here to find out where you can purchase them.