Steel City Pops popularity grows among students

Steel City Pops employee Katie Oliver recommends pop flavors to customers. Photo by Megan Thompson.

By Sarah Brooke Williams – Features Writer |

Since its May 2012 opening, Steel City Pops has become one of the trendiest frozen dessert joints in Birmingham.  This popsicle paradise is located near downtown Homewood and sells an abundance of flavors which are all natural, organic and local.  The pops are categorized as “fruity” or “creamy” and the flavors change seasonally.

“I am already addicted to Steel City Pops,” said Paul Austin, a sophomore business major.  “The prices are reasonable for college students, the location is convenient to Samford and most importantly the product is outstanding,” Austin said.

Jim Watkins, a Birmingham resident and the owner of Steel City Pops, came across the idea to open a popsicle store while vacationing in Nashville with his family in 2002.  He came across a unique shop called Las Paletas, a simply-decorated store that sold uniquely flavored, gourmet popsicles.  Watkins first realized his dream of opening a popsicle shop in Birmingham in 2011, when he put together a business plan, looked at locations and came up with flavors for a menu.

“I’ve been to Steel City Pops five times and it never gets old,” said Emilie Hale, a junior business major.  “They have so many awesome flavors but my top two have to be chocolate and banana. I can tell that they’ve really put a lot of time, thought and effort into every flavor they create,” Hale said.

Watkins believes that it’s his responsibility to engage in the world around him and because of this belief, Steel City Pops is partnered with a Birmingham-based philanthropy called NeverThirst.  They donate 100 percent of all profits from the bottled water sold in the store to support the installation of wells in India and Africa.

“Steel City Pops is a really special, unique place,” Hale said. “It’s the full package: yummy, nutritious food, intimate, friendly, local, and philanthropic. It really is the new hip place to go.”

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