padrinos pops

By Quint Qualls and Spring Hill Home Page

Local artisanal popsicle makers, Padrino’s Pops, joined the Spring Hill Chamber of Commerce last week as a next step in becoming more ingrained in the community that they serve.

Since opening up her new production facility in Columbia this spring, Lorena Mendoza Cantu, owner of Padrino’s Pops and herself a Spring Hill resident, said her business has become more focused on serving in the area around Spring Hill, Columbia, Thompson’s Station and Franklin.

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Lorena Mendoza Cantu’s daughter, Yazka, serves customers at the Thompson’s Station Farmer’s Market at Homestead Manor. // Photo by Quint Qualls.

Cantu is now in her third year of business, having first begun Padrino’s Pops in Nashville, with a storefront located across the street from Lipscomb University in the Green Hills area. It was a great location, she said, but the rent was a constant burden.

After getting an opportunity to buy her own building in Columbia, she said she seized upon it – not least of all because it was closer to home. Her Green Hills store closed just last November and she began working to open her facility in Columbia in February of this year.

“We joined the Chamber just to be more around community,” Cantu said. “My husband is a restaurant owner. He owns Taziki’s in Green Hills, in Nashville. He told me I have to go to the Chamber of Commerce to meet new people and have the opportunity to talk with all the people around Spring Hill, and just to have more friends. All my networking has been in Nashville because of Taziki’s and now it’s starting over, with new faces and new opportunities.”

Padrino’s Pops comes from a family history of making paletas (Mexican popsicles). Cantu is from Chihuahua, Mexico originally, and both her father and grandfather made paletas before her. Now living in Spring Hill, Cantu works with both her son, José, and daughter, Yazka, who help with making, marketing and selling the pops.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to have an open mind about business, and also to learn how to make money,” Cantu said. “It’s hard work, but selling popsicles is really fun. Everyone is always so happy when they come to get a popsicle from us. And who wouldn’t be? It’s a great treat.

padrino pops“We always try to do the right thing using fresh fruit, and we’re very careful with allergies so we don’t have cross-contamination. We make all of the popsicles with nuts on one day only, so there’s no cross-contamination. We don’t use any food colorings, and everything in the color comes from food. Like our lime popsicle is going to be white because the juice is not green, it’s white. It’s kind of a shock, people think they’re getting coconut, and it’s because we grew up with food colorings, but the moms now want more organic, more fresh, and that’s something I really wanted to do with my popsicles.”

Padrino’s Pops are served from both a cart and a food truck, which are resupplied from the production facility in Columbia. Customers can get the pops at various events and occasions, and their calendar is available on their website.

Customers can also have a cart full, a cart with a vendor or the pop truck come to their birthday parties, weddings, festivals or other events by filling out a form on the Padrino’s Pops website.

Quint Qualls covers Spring Hill for Home Page Media Group. Reach him at quint@springhillhomepage.com.

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