Popsicle maker opens new Hamilton store
Rickeisha Burgess was far from bored during the Covid-19 lockdown.
She was too busy trying to save her homemade popsicle business, Duch Pops, hit hard by the pandemic.
“Covid-19 was a major impact, because we were located in Dockyard where we serviced mostly tourists,” Ms Burgess said.
And not only was Bermuda's 2020 tourism season virtually cancelled, but many of the events she normally catered to did not go ahead either, such as the Bermuda Day and Cup Match activities.
“We had to think quick and tap into the local market which we did by offering a delivery service for the first time,” she said. “People would order through Duchpopsbermuda.com and we would have them delivered to them in a styrofoam box that keeps them cold.
“We did cut down on overhead but it is still hard and tough trying to move forward with just the income of deliveries.”
She has now opened a store on the ground floor of the Washington Mall in Hamilton.
“People have been asking me for years to set up in Hamilton,” she said. “A lot of locals want my treats but don't want to come all the way to Dockyard to get them.”
But they opened just as the season ended.
“September is always the month that is a little bit challenging in any type of industry,” she said. “But I did want to make sure that we had a location for people to come and purchase our Christmas products.”
Her signature flavour is Duch Pop which has strawberry, mango, peach, pineapple, kiwi and mixed berries. Other popular flavours include Reggae Gombey which is kiwi, mango and raspberry, and Paradise Sunset which has kiwi, mango, strawberry, pineapple and grape inside a pink raspberry lemonade base. She will be bringing some fall flavours online shortly.
“We have coffee flavours and more creamy flavours,” Ms Burgess said. “People tend to like more ice cream in the winter. My popsicles are all healthy. They are all made with fresh fruit. We use agave and cane for sugar, so there are no artificial preservatives or anything like that.”
Her next step will be to put her products in grocery stores and gas stations.
“What we wanted to do first was to let the local market know about our product,” Ms Burgess said. “We couldn't put our product in a store if no one knew what we were.”
Since the Covid-19 pandemic she has had to cut back on staffing and do all the marketing, selling and production herself.
“The mall is only open from Tuesday to Saturday,” she said. “I dedicate Sunday and Monday to production days to make sure that I produce enough. We still do deliveries, after the mall closes.”
Ms Burgess first opened, with some help from the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, in 2017 during the America's Cup.
“The business has grown a lot in that time,” Ms Burgess said.
In the beginning they sold out at every event because it took them six to eight hours to freeze their products. Since then they have bought a machine that freezes their popsicles in 35 minutes. That allowed them to grow the production side of things.
This winter Ms Burgess may be looking for some help from the BEDC again.
“We did have some good sales going but it wasn't enough to keep us afloat through the summer and also the winter,” she said.
• For more information see Duch Pops on Facebook under Duch Pops Bermuda, call 705-3824 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org