This week’s spotlight interview is with a young Broward County entrepreneur, Lee Feldman owner and operator of Pops Corn & Yo Mama’s Ice Cream. Lee and his brother Lonnie run three retail operations in Broward County; Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale as well as an internet store. Pops Corn was founded in 2000 by the Feldman Brothers both at the time were in their early twenties. Pops Corn is now celebrating their 11th year of retail success having popped over a trillion seeds. There is nothing easy or glamorous about the gourmet retail gift business and yet these two brothers have not only survived but grown steadily for over a decade. What is the secret recipe for their success? I do believe Lee gives us the answer to that question….it just might not be as attractive as you would hope, so let’s move on and find out what makes the Feldman brothers “pop” with success.
South Florida Food and Wine: After launching and building the successful Pops Corn, where did Yo Mama’s Ice Cream come from? Lee Feldman: When we had the opportunity to open a location on Fort Lauderdale Beach we wanted to add another gourmet item to sell. And since we were going to be located directly on the beach we said “What is better than Ice Cream” So we started doing our research and developed our own brand of Ice cream. Yo Mama’s Ice Cream is made right in the store right in front of the customers. It’s the freshest ice cream in the world!
South Florida Food and Wine: What is a typical day for you as the owner of three retail snack/food stores? Lee Feldman: A typical day is pretty regimented. All the stores must be checked up on first thing and throughout the day. The rest of the time is a combination of marketing, planning for the future, charity work, employee training and product research.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur? Lee Feldman: The most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur is keeping yourself and your staff motivated. It’s very easy in life to take the “easy” road and just be satisfied with average; but in order to build a great company you must strive to make your operation and your staff the best they can be by constantly pushing them to give better service, keep the store clean and to put in that extra effort to make sure the customer is completely satisfied.
South Florida Food and Wine: Pembroke Pines, Coral Springs and Fort Lauderdale, are there plans for other outposts? Lee Feldman: Possibly. Right now were concentrating on building our business and making our current stores as profitable as possible. If the right opportunity presents itself we will definitely look into it.
South Florida Food and Wine: Where was the last place you had ice cream at, other than your own. Lee Feldman: The last place I had ice cream other than ours is a little parlor in NYC…forgot the name, sorry….
South Florida Food and Wine: This is not an easy business, what motivates you to be bigger, better, stronger? Lee Feldman: The motivation is to never fail. Failure is never an option. You must keep pushing every hour of every day. Every hour lost is an hour you will never get back. There is always room for improvement. If you’re not motivated to improve than you might as well sell your store and do something else.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun? Lee Feldman: On my day off I check up on the stores then I party!
South Florida Food and Wine: What is the one piece of advice you would offer entrepreneurs starting out today? Lee Feldman: My one piece of advice for entrepreneurs starting today…this is perfect time to open a business there are opportunities everywhere. Just make it happen.
Coral Square Mall
9249 W. Atlantic Blvd Coral Springs, FL 33071
Fort Lauderdale Beach
Pops Corn® & Yo Mama’s Ice Cream 901 Sunrise Lane Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
(1/2 Block off Sunrise Blvd & A1A)