‘Happiness on a stick’

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Kristy and Jay Keiffer pose in front of the Frios Gourmet Pops “sweet ride.” (Sara Gladney for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Jay and Kristy Keiffer, owners of Frios Gourmet Pops in Cullman, opened their franchise at 112 Clark St. NE in 2019. They have since become well-known, active members of the community. When they go out, they said, Jay Keiffer is often recognized and referred to as “the pop guy.”

During the height of COVID-19, while many were quarantined, the pair took gourmet pops to their customers’ neighborhoods in the Frios Pops Cart. They’ve taken their mobile cart to several festivals and go to preschools weekly.

“Little kids love Frios. It’s not messy. Plus, our pops are healthy. We’ve got gluten-free options and vegan options,” said Kristy Keiffer.

She also works as a nurse practitioner. Being in the medical field, she knew firsthand the struggles experienced by patients and medical staff due to COVID. She and her husband hosted a “create a card” promotion asking customers to write cards for nursing home residents. Then they hand delivered the cards to the residents along with Frios pops to help spread goodwill.

Kristy Keiffer shared, “Any time we can, we try to do a big push to give back to community members and we try to get our guests involved, too. We often bring our pops to the church we attend and share the delicious tastes of Frios with the members of the church.”

The Keiffers have two other territories in Florence and Decatur. They serve those territories with mobile refrigerated carts, bringing hand-poured, packaged pops to events throughout the cities, including church events, school events and private parties.

They first began their operation when their sons moved out.

“We started this as empty nesters. When you go from being so involved in PTAs and boosters and schools, you’re just so busy, and then everybody is gone and you’re not busy. So, we had a lot of time on our hands,” remembered Kristy Keiffer. “We were just thinking of what we could do – because at that time we both had full-time jobs – so we were thinking of what we could do and just do it and leave it, like not have to be committed to it.”

Frios gave them the chance to fill their time giving back to the community while still maintaining their full-time careers.

The Keiffers currently sell about 40 different flavors that change seasonally.

Frios is a Mobile, Alabama-based frozen dessert franchise specializing in hand-poured gourmet pops made with real fruit and ingredients sourced from Alabama. The franchise has nearly 50 brick-and-mortar and mobile franchise units across the country. Frios calls its franchisees Happiness Hustlers, and its slogan is “Happiness on a stick.”

The Keiffers are committed to their roles as Happiness Hustlers and spreading positivity to their neighbors and customers.

“People like to get away. You can look around; we don’t have a clock in here, no TV,” said Jay Kieffer.

The intentional lack of distractions in their shop allows families to focus on each other.

The next charitable event the Keiffers will have at Frios will be Friday, Aug. 26, National (Cherry) Popsicle Day, on which $1 from every pop will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Frios Gourmet Pops is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Find out more, including a list of flavors, at www.facebook.com/frioscullman.

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