Q COSTA RICA – For, well the longest time ever, almost five decades, Pops was alone in the Costa Rica ice cream parlor business.
Although in 2012 the company was bought out by the Colombian company, Nutresa, for a reported US$110 million dollars, for Costa Ricans the name Pops continues to be synonymous with quality ice cream.
And despite a number of “gelaterias” (Italian style ice cream parlors) have popped up (no pun intended) over the past several years, and recently the arrival of Los Paleteros and Moyo, they have never even come close to giving Pops a challenge.
One of the recipes for Pops’ success is that they took “premium” to the word. While others used the word premium for their product, it didn’t mean it to be quality.
But, starting tomorrow, Pops will see competition. And it comes in the name of “La Estacion” (the Station), with the official opening of the first store in Escazu Village. (Across Walmart).
The Dos Pinos dairy cooperative has invested more US$150,000 dollars for its first store entering the premium ice cream market.
Up to today, Dos Pinos ice cream can only be found in supermarket freezers.
“Basically La Estación Dos Pinos is a project that comes out of the pillars of the company: diversification. We are looking for a more direct contact with the consumer,” said project manager Luis Rojas.
The Escazu store is the first of two ice cream parlours the company will open this year; the second expected in August will be Cuidad del Este shopping centre in Curridabat.
“Escazú Village has a strategic location, logically the location we chose had to have a very strong exposure. The mall mixes convenience, entertainment and residential,” said Rojas.
But, what will La Estacion offer?
Rojas stressed that consumers can find the same fine products sold in supermarkets and grocery stores, but with a different presentation.
“The menu is one of the strong pillars of the brand, it is based on all the Dos Pinos ice cream but in ways that never imagined. For example there is the Krunchy Taco which is a waffle stuffed with Krunchy ice cream or including we take all the ‘paletas’ (stick ice cream bars) and make into shakes,” added Rojas.
The company will also take advantage of its recent purchase of the Gallito candy brand for “toppings” for the ice cream. The Gallito candy will also be sold in traditional packaging.
The price range for the some 20 different products is between ¢1,100 and ¢2,800 colones.
Other elements the company seeks differentiate itself from the competition is in the atmosphere and technology. For example, consumers can access the online site to purchase their ice cream and then pick it up at the store.