HYDE PARK — Stephen DiMare spent the summer after college in 2010 working at a ski resort in Montana, saving money to open his dream coffee shop.
However, one flight home to St. Augustine for a friend's wedding changed the entire direction of that dream.
"I sat next to a stranger and started talking about the coffee shop and she suggested ice pops would be a good addition," DiMare, 30, said.
After spending the entire flight chatting with the stranger, rather than just an addition, DiMare decided to trade hot coffee for ice pops.
"At the end of the flight I was enamored with that idea. Ice pops with fresh fruit, I never heard or thought about doing that," DiMare said. "I went back to working at the ski resort and during my time off I would go down to the kitchen and make different recipes."
He spent one month testing his new recipes out on the resort guests, then returned home to open The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops in historic downtown St. Augustine.
It had only been three months since the stranger on the plane initiated the idea.
On Jan. 19, he will celebrate the opening of the 10th location in Hyde Park Village.
"Back in 2010, I was able to find space to rent and kitchen space and people who would rent to a first time business owner," DiMare said. "I was afforded these privileges because the economy was bad and people were hurting for rent money. If I tried to do it now on the same budget I wouldn't be able to."
Though every shop is a little different, they all rotate flavors at a fast pace, serving a variety of fruit filled ice pops.
"We just perfected a new type of ice pop: juice pops," DiMare said. "Essentially they are ice pops that mimic popular juices that people are drinking like kale, cucumber and ginger. They are sweetened by fruits and juices only. No cane sugar."
After six months of research and development, Hyppo will launch them company wide around the same time that the Hyde Park Village store opens.
During the grand opening at 11 a.m. on Thursday (Jan. 19) at 702 South Village Circle, the store will give away the first 200 ice pops for free.
For more information visit, thehyppo.com.
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