On a block in Second Ward, there is a budding community of local business owners. Their newest addition, Popston, is hosting their grand opening on Saturday, July 23. A popsicle business with unique, authentic flavors and a brand that embraces everything Houston will introduce itself to the East End as the spot for a cold treat on hot summer days. However, the idea of Popston goes back to 2016.
Jonathan Delgado has been a true hustler for his business since the beginning. After being laid off from his full-time job, Delgado struggled to find his next move. It was his wife that reminded him of a dream he always had – opening his own popsicle stand.
The idea came from his visits to Colombia, where he would visit his wife’s family and would often have popsicles with flavors unlike those in the states. Delgado didn’t want to create just any pops, though. He wanted to create flavors unique to Houston, a place often referred to as a melting pot of different cultures.
“We just want to build a company that's Houston,” he said. “It’s everything that has to do with Houston.”
From mangonada tajin to smoked vanilla cherry, Popston’s flavors cover just about every corner of the Bayou City.
Despite not knowing how to make popsicles, Delgado got to work. After buying a book on frozen pops from the now-closed Half Price Books in Rice Village, he was able to create a handful of Houston-inspired flavors. Using some contacts he had from his former job as a parts seller for freezers, he acquired the necessary equipment not only to make popsicles, but cart them around Houston.
However, Delgado didn’t find immediate success. In fact, the first few months handed him plenty of “no” and unsold popsicles.
“I wanted to quit but then I remembered how I got laid off and I was like ‘I'm really not giving it 100 percent.’ I have to keep going,” he explained. “And when I was ready, I started pushing the cart again.”
After a bit of trial and error, Popston finally found success in the Texas Medical Center and Museum District, serving pops to families and those who worked at the surrounding hospitals. Popston then went on to be sold at the Glassel School of Art in Montrose. He built a community and a following on social, gaining regulars as well as newcomers all the same. Not only that, but Delgado’s outgoing and friendly personality made customers come back for not just the pops, but him as well.
“We lost our house during Hurricane Harvey, my second year of doing the pops,” Delgado shared. “But a lot of people knew me. I had a little following on Instagram, so a lot of my customers brought me clothing.”
Once he was able to get back on his feet, he continued selling pops. Everything was steering in the right direction for Popston, but just as Delgado was ready to open a brick-and-mortar, the pandemic hit. Another setback in his path, but this didn’t deter him at all.
Delgado kept workshopping different flavors, and once it was safe again, he once again went out to the streets to sell his popsicles. Not too long after, he went ahead and decided to open a brick-and-mortar right in the East End.
“It's been a blessing for me to be able to be here but continue doing what I'm doing that's what makes me so happy,” he expressed.
It’s not only a monumental moment for Delgado and Popston, but also the EaDo community. Since moving into his space, Delgado has made friends with just about every small business owner on his block. From thrift store owner, Shantella, to the local barber, TJ, the Popston owner makes sure to say hello to everyone around him.
He said, “It's cool because everybody is from the city and they're all entrepreneurs. It’s very welcoming here.”
Popston’s influence is still seen around the city outside of the East End, with Delgado still working with various museums as well as parks. Now, he gets to add sports teams to his list.
A few weeks before the grand opening, Delgado took his cart out to Houston Sports Park and surprised the Houston Dash players with popsicles after training. It was the perfect way to cool off after training in the Houston heat.
Popston hosts its grand opening this Saturday, July 23 at 3401 Harrisburg Blvd Suite B, Houston, TX 77003.