Winter Park resident Caroline DeSormoux is making healthy treats that make a difference for local school students.
As the owner of Yum Yum Pops, DeSormoux hand crafts all-natural, fruit-based popsicles that she sells on school campuses, at events, and festivals.
A former Disney employee, she started the business for the sake of her own child. “I used to work in group sales,” she said. “It was a difficult schedule with long hours, and when I had my daughter I wanted to spend time with her.”
DeSormoux’s career pivot began in 2016 with help from her husband, David, who sourced produce for local chefs and restaurant kitchens. His customers included the former owner of Yum Yum Pops.
“He was at East End Market and sold at events, but he had back problems and eventually the business went dormant,” said David DeSormoux.
“I bought the name and the equipment, but he had been out of business long enough that there weren’t any customers, so I had to figure that part out for myself,” said Caroline DeSormoux. As the only company employee, mass production for market sales was not possible, but a smaller plan came with a much larger appeal.
DeSormoux, who packed her daughter’s lunch every day to ensure her healthy diet, wanted to offer kids an alternative to sugary, processed snacks. Fruit is sourced locally and hand-picked by DeSormoux, who also makes the popsicles herself. She estimates that it takes 12 hours to make between 600 and 700 popsicles.
“They are all natural. I don’t use any chemicals, so they will melt fast because there are no preservatives,” she said. “I use almond milk or coconut milk for the creamsicles, so there’s no dairy. And I taste the fruit as I make them so that I don’t add too much sugar.”
DeSormoux sticks to a menu of six flavors: strawberry lemonade, lemon ginger, mango, watermelon mint, orange creamsicle, and chocolate banana sea salt. “I used to play around with seasonal flavors but realized that people like what they like, so I stick with the best sellers,” she said.
She sells her popsicles from an old-school pushcart that fits on the sidewalk, by the entrance, or in the lobby. “I can roll it inside the school, so kids feel safe because they don’t have to go out to a food truck.” she said.
She began by approaching several local schools, including St. Margaret Mary Catholic School, Monarch Learning Academy and Hillcrest Elementary School, with the idea of promoting healthy eating and the desire to give back.
“I offer a portion of my proceeds back to the schools,” she said. “So, it’s a win-win for everybody.”
DeSormoux donates 50 cents from each transaction back to the school where the sale was made. In April, Audubon Park School was able to purchase 24 classroom mats with the donations from Yum Yum Pops sales.
When asked about future growth, DeSormoux hinges her plans on quality control and customer satisfaction.
“I’ve been approached by theme parks and markets, but they have their own way of doing things that would affect the price or the ingredients,” she said. “I’m hoping to bring in some help at some point, but I don’t mind keeping things the way they are if it means the quality won’t change.”