There’s really only two seasons in Phoenix; summer and summer’s coming. As the temperature starts nearing triple digits, you may be inclined to enjoy a frozen treat. Frozen treats definitely make the temperature bearable and much more enjoyable. Thankfully, Breezy Pop is there for your freeze pop cravings.
Christmas of 2009, Brandon’s grandmother was visiting from Mexico. She came to the realization that there was something her grandson could be doing to help the people with the heat. She proposed the idea of selling freeze pops because “the Arizona weather is very warm and people need something that is both healthy and refreshing during the heat wave”. Brandon, having the entrepreneurial spirit he naturally has, was extremely fond of the idea and wanted to run with it. From the beginning, he wanted to bring the Latin American culture to life as well as to be an example for young entrepreneurs. With the idea in mind, it was time to put everything into action.
Brandon's grandmother had a 5 step process for making and selling their product:
1. There must be consistency in quality
2. Pick only the best fruit
3. Greet customers in a friendly manner
4. Show the commodity
5. Politely ask if they would like to purchase a Breezy Pop treat
With five steps and a cooler full of pops, Brandon set out door-to-door and sold out in just two hours on his first day!
As Breezy Pop became more successful, Brandon began expanding his customer base. He started selling his product at his high school and as word spread, kids started calling Breezy Pops the "good stuff".Brandon was a man on a mission seeing that there was a lot of potential for business growth. After high school, Brandon got in touch with Fuerza Local, a branch of Local First Arizona that is designed to build and support local Latino businesses. He then joined the Fuerza Local Accelerator program, where Brandon gained a lot of knowledge on becoming more competitive as well as getting the resources he needed for his business. I was interested in how the program helped him as well as his journey throughout the last few years. Recently, I got the opportunity to interview Brandon Ornelas, Co. Founder of Breezy Pop.
Q: How did the Fuerza Local Accelerator Program guide you with your entrepreneurial spirit?
A: “Fuerza local's accelerator program was very important for me and taking my business to the other level. After I graduated from the course I was able to use the funds and get the required permits I needed in order to sell at special events, farmers markets, etc.. The support of the teachers and staff was incredible. I was able to ask specific questions regarding their specialty and interests.”
Q: What is the number one thing Fuerza Local helped you realize with your business?
A: “Get the required paperwork like permits, licenses, and insurance in place. This took my business to another level.”
Q: What’s the significance of your business’s name?
A: “When I was looking for a name I wanted something unique, catchy, and that represented the products I wanted to offer. Breezy is unique and goes well with a cold treat type of business. It took me a while to come up with that name but once I thought of it I was like this is it, my gut feeling was telling me this is the right flavor to choose from.”
Q: How involved is Brandon’s abuelita, now that the business is a few years old?
A: “Brandon's abuelita is now back in Mexico. She visits us or we visit her at least once a year. We often talk on the phone and I ask her advice on the business. She has a lot more experience than me and getting her insight into for example coming up with a new flavor is super helpful. She is also happy to see my progress and gives me that extra push when it is needed.”
Q: Where are all the frozen treats made and what does that process look like?
A: “We rent a commercial kitchen that is an actual ice cream shop once it opens its doors to the public. There is where we make all of our pops from scratch. The process is first I have to make the batch by cutting and prepping all of the ingredients and then mixing them well. Once the batches are completed I will then insert it into the machine which will seal them. Once they are sealed I put the labels and put them inside the freezer for them to freeze. I go two days out of the weekday in the morning before the commercial kitchen opens its doors.”
Q: How has the business changed over the last few years?
A: “It has changed a lot. The logo has been updated 3 times since I started which was back in 2009. At first we made our pops at home and did a lot of door to door sales. Where I would sell them to my neighbors and surrounding neighborhoods. During High School I would also sell them throughout the school day and I also got the help of a couple of my friends who would help me sell them in school. As I grew and learned to drive I expanded into selling to local businesses throughout Phoenix. I had a daily route which I would follow every week and grew a nice stable customer base. After I graduated from Fuerza Local I expanded into farmers markets which are every Saturday and recently started a seasonal kiosk at AZ Mills.”
Q: What is the biggest challenge the business deals with?
A: “The biggest challenge my business faces I would say is me. I'm responsible for the success or failure of it and have to give it my all throughout the whole year to come out a success!”
Q: Does the business plan on opening a store location in the future?
A: “Our plan is to open a shop once I graduate from school which is by the end of this year. I'm super excited for!”
Make sure to stop by one of the weekly farmer markets and support Breezy Pop!