Tag Archives: king of pops

See Why Inman Park Remains an Atlanta Jewel — PHOTOS

Inman Park, Atlanta, neighborhood, festival, tour of homesOne of Atlanta’s oldest and best neighborhoods is gearing up for its yearly party this weekend. But the story of its recent, ongoing growth spurt goes beyond the 44th Inman Park Spring Festival and Tour Of Homes.

Hundreds of new apartments have gone up in just the last couple of years, along with trendy restaurants and cafes. Much of it’s centered around the Atlanta BeltLine, which currently ends next to the Krog Street Marketanother of the area’s exciting projects.

Walking around the neighborhood Wednesday afternoon, I bumped into Alex Kinjo at the site of his soon-to-open MF Sushi on North Highland Avenue near Elizabeth Street. Sushi lovers all over metro Atlanta have missed MF since Kinjo closed the flagship on Ponce in Midtown and the second location in Buckhead.

Inman Park, neighborhood, Atlanta, MF Sushi, Alex Kinjo

Alex Kinjo is getting ready to relaunch MF Sushi.

“I fell in love with this spot,” he says. “The Inman Park folks and the people in Midtown (nearby),  have been very loyal … and they support the community.”

His place is still under construction for a planned opening in late May. And that’s only fitting, since there’s so much construction going on within one of the city’s most prominent, historical zip codes. It is home to countless gorgeous mansions as well as the rolling namesake park.

The new vitality is unmistakable around the Inman Park Village area, where Fritti has been serving gourmet pizza for 15 years. Chef Riccardo Ullio, who also has Sotto Sotto down the street, is an Inman Park native.

“It’s popular because it’s the coolest neighborhood in town,” he says.

Displaced to make room for new apartments, Dad’s Garage theater company has moved to nearby Little Five Points. Dad’s is currently mounting a new musical there at 7 Stages based on none other than The King of Pops – another local hero with its base on the block.

The Inman Park festival is one of the biggest in town, and definitely worth checking out if you don’t mind the crowds. And the tour of homes promises to be spectacular – any drive or walk through Inman Park reveals a treasure of sprawling Victorian homes lovingly maintained amid impressive landscaping.

Here are a few links pieces about the neighborhood, too.

Inman Park, Atlanta, neighborhood, festival, tour of homes

North Highland Avenue, just off the BeltLine has restaurants, shops, apartments, doctors offices and more.

Inman Park, Atlanta, neighborhood, festival, tour of homes

Dining al fresco at Barcelona, a tapas restaurant and bar


RELATED: A photo tour of Ponce City Market

RELATED: Images from Atlanta’s North Avenue

RELATED: Step into The Shave

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Building the BeltLine Culture in Atlanta: ‘I Want to Be a Part of That’

I just got in from a bike ride on the Atlanta BeltLine, where it’s no surprise that everyone loves it. I was curious if people had an opinion about something I heard this week from a top editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The BeltLine will be bigger for Atlanta than the 1996 Olympics were.

I was never a big believer in the scientific veracity of “man on the street” interviews. But they can be fun and, as was the case today, illuminating.

Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine, BeltLine, North Avenue, bikes, bicycle, trees atlanta, jake's ice cream, Piedmont Park, Inman Park, Krog

Daniel Keiger is a big fan of the BeltLine and hopes it lives up to its full potential.

I found Daniel Keiger lounging in the sun outside Atlanta BeltLine Bicycle. He loves the positive, creative energy the trail fosters, and notes that it just keeps building on itself. Like others I spoke to (and the AJC’s senior managing editor Bert Roughton) he said the permanency of the project could mean it indeed will have a great effect on Atlanta. “There’s apartments going up everywhere here,” he said. “Everything leftover from the Olympics is going to be torn down. You know Turner Field is gonna be gone” with the Braves leaving downtown.

I stopped in for ice cream at Jake’s, because who wouldn’t, and I met a guy behind the counter who gave his name as just Kenya. “I love the BeltLine. It keeps it moving — that energy of it, people expending their energy getting around on their own. I love the area, period. It’s going to do nothing but get better.”

And my favorite quote came from Anthony Spina, who’s moving here from New Jersey to open a pizza shop in the same building as Jake’s (on the Irwin Street end). He told me he chose that location partly because of the trail, and he is proud to live without a car, noting the eco-friendly nature of the BeltLine. He likes seeing folks walking their dogs and jogging, but notes there’s more to it than just recreation. There’s real community, he said. “It’s the culture of the BeltLine. I want to be a part of that.”


EARLIER:  Journalists offer advice for the BeltLine

RELATED: The College Football Hall of Fame lights up downtown

RELATED: Honeysuckle Gelato coming to Ponce City Market

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Wrapping up the Challenge: 3 (of Many) Positive Things about Life in Atlanta

college football hall of fame, atlanta, attractions

Atlanta’s newest attraction. Y’all come.

It’s been great to share good thoughts with the Positive Challenge, and I’ll keep up my attitude of gratitude. But today I’m wrapping my seven-day Positive Challenge with a look at three great things about my city, Atlanta.

1. Downtown rocks. With the newest addition of the College Football Hall of Fame following the Center for Civil and Human Rights by just weeks, we now have a bunch of great reasons for folks to spend all day, or more, downtown. Unheard of just a few years ago, and a boon for residents, tourists, conventioneers, businesses, etc.

2. The BeltLine Corridor. I enjoy starting a bike ride at the Inman Park end of the Atlanta BeltLine, riding past the soon-to-open Ponce City Market, and circling the loop inside Piedmont Park (the city’s crown jewel). Throw in a popsicle from the King of Pops or some Jake’s Ice Cream, and that’s a great afternoon.

3. Labor Day Weekend. Coming up fast again… Annual favorites DragonCon, the Decatur Book Festival, Black Gay Pride and … what else am I missing? This year, the Braves host the Marlins and the Phillies. And hometown superstar Jennifer Nettles plays Chastain… Who has time to grill? Dang.


RELATED: Rep. John Lewis rocks social media

RELATED: Atlanta Mayor’s Spokesman / Ex-Reporter Knows Stories from Both Sides

RELATED: 7 Terrific Social Media Accounts about Life in Atlanta

6 Most Popular Blog Posts: What to Learn from the Numbers

Sandi Parker (center), Manager, Creative & Marketing for Jamestown Properties, leads guests through the tour.

This is where the main food court will be inside Ponce City Market

It’s always fun to look at readership numbers for items posted online. It’s also important, since we can consider what “works” and what doesn’t when creating more content and telling more stories.

“If you don’t know what your most popular content is, then how are you going to create more of it?” asks blogging expert Jeff Bullas.

And WordPress, the platform on which I publish this blog, provides helpful stats that show how many page views each piece of content gets.

I’ve been blogging here for six months, so it seems like a good time to look for myself. I won’t bore you with the details, but here are my top six posts.

1. Inside Look: Preview Pictures from Ponce City Market. It’s a big, local story with lots of interest among Atlantans — and I got to take lots of photos when I went on a tour of the mixed-use development project. I posted 13, and each time someone clicked on an individual photo to enlarge it, that added another page view to the tally.

2. Listen Up! An Ex-Reporter Gives 12 Easy Ways to Get More Information from Anyone. I spent very little time on this one. It was just me blabbing, with a silly meme and no photos. Its viral success and the amount of comments I received shocked me, so I tried a sequel — which bombed.

Doug Brooks, Rusty Wolf, Sophie, three kids, gay, gay dads, gay parents, gay family, families, mouths of babes, children of gay, well adjusted, atlanta, georgia

Doug Brooks, left, and Rusty Wolf with their children

3. Short and (Very) Sweet. This is one of the first items I posted and it still gets page views from web searches about gay parents. I couldn’t be happier about that. Go ahead and click here to see what little Sophie has to say when asked a no-nonsense question.

4. A Gay Husband in Georgia Gets a Military ID Card. Attorney and veteran Jeff Cleghorn helped overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So when I saw his brief Facebook post about the joy he and his husband experienced recently, I had to get more information to share here.

5. What’s His Story: The Run Commuter Gets to Work on Foot. When Atlantan Josh Woiderski started running to work a few years ago, he had no idea where it would take him. His blog, theruncommuter.com, caught on in other cities and other countries, and brought him national media attention and even an income stream. Organic genius.

Nick and Steven Carse of The King of Pops

Nick and Steven Carse of The King of Pops

6. 9 Business & Marketing Tips from Atlanta’s King of Pops. Another popular local story with high interest and plenty of photo opps. Hmm… I’m noticing some themes here…

And what’s not working for me? Wordless Wednesdays, the photo-only feature a blogging friend suggested I try. I enjoy it, but maybe I can save it for when I have something special, huh?

Let me know what you think I should take from this. And if you’re a blogger or web producer and you don’t already know your most popular pieces, find out now and see what you can learn about your  audience. The power of the web is ours only if we use it.

Fun, Sun and Keeping It Real: 9 Business & Marketing Tips from Atlanta’s King of Pops — PLUS: PICS

King of Pops, Atlanta, Inman Park, Steven Carse, Nick Carse, popsicles, entrepreneur, brothers, laid off, lost job started own business, followed dream

Steven Carse

Atlanta’s King of Pops just turned 4, its origin tale almost as familiar around town as it is irresistible. But there’s more to the company’s story since the now-fabled beginning. Here’s a list of 9 things you probably don’t know about or can learn from The King, aka Steven Carse, the laid-off corporate worker who started selling organic, homemade popsicles in fun flavors (chocolate sea salt, Arnold Palmer, mango habanero, apple ginger…) on a street corner in 2010. Since then, brother Nick left his career as an attorney to join the enterprise, and it has become a case study in successful small-business marketing: strong emotional connections; pitch-perfect branding; resonant storytelling; savvy use of social media; and more.

And who doesn’t love a popsicle?

Since the origin story has been told so often, and is available on the company website, let’s start with some new items.

Berry-growing will be a focus of the new farm near Douglasville.

Berry-growing will be a focus of the new farm near Douglasville.

  1. Farming Future. The King’s popsicles are made with fresh fruit, herbs, honey and other essentials he soon will grow at a 65-acre farm near Douglasville. Carse plans to use the farm for composting, tours/awareness of farming, and eventually start other food-related businesses.
  2. No ‘Shark Tank.’ Carse isn’t looking to sell the business. But every time it’s featured in national media, he gets calls from folks all over who want to open their own King of Pops stand.
  3. Growth in the Numbers. In his first year on the corner of Highland and North avenues, Carse estimates he sold 50,000 popsicles, for $2.50 each. The exotic flavors and organic cane sugar/honey/agave sweeteners, along with his low-key pitch, were a hit. This year, he expects to sell 600,000.
  4. Value Your Employees. “We attract and hire interesting people,” Carse says. “We get a lot of applicants, people who are musicians or artists or students. Initially, it just worked out that way, but now we like it and look for it.” The company has a dozen full-time employees, plus 30 part-time “slingers” who sell at parks, corners and festivals, based out of a 3,700-square-foot production facility in trendy Inman Park.
  5. Stay Focused. They deliver weekly to 50 or 60 locations around the Southeast and plan to keep the regional focus. Most of the retail locations, which include Whole Foods, are around Atlanta.
  6. Show Some Emotion. Popsicles appeal to a sweet place in our collective consciousness, memories of childhood, summer fun… and the business model focuses on that by trying to be in what Carse calls “the right places.” That could be a church festival one week and gay Pride the next. “From a very abstract perspective, it’s wherever people want to be happy, where they are going in order to be happy and have fun.”
  7. What’s Your Story? “We make a very good product, and the product is important,”Carse says. “But more important is our creation story and people’s idea of who we are. I don’t know how we cultivate that more or how we created it to begin with, except by being authentic and trying to be very honest about everything. That seems very simple, but I don’t think people are actually used to that from businesses. They’re used to getting a pitch. I don’t feel like we have a pitch. We’re just some guys trying to do a good thing. We would never have a meeting and say, ‘All right, what are we going to do to be more authentic?’ But I’ll say to five random people, ‘Go do something nice that’s pop-related while you’re on the clock.’ ”

    Nick and Steven Carse

    Nick and Steven Carse

  8. Make Connections. “People were really able to connect with us initially, and after that it was momentum. Atlanta is on an upswing with things like the Beltline and the food scene, and we are a part of that. People are proud of the city, and they talk about how much they love it. I still work at the old corner once or twice a week – and I like that vibe, the 10-second interaction with people I don’t really know but I’m familiar with, kids I’ve seen grow up … I love that.”
  9. Keep It Real Online. The King of Pops is ideal for social media. Nick Carse says the business makes the most of it by being useful, telling followers where vendors are every day and showing what is available. “Anybody can have social media,” he says, “but it’s gotta be smart.” So linked is the company’s identity with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, that he says the King has never spent a dime on advertising.

RELATED: Honeysuckle Gelato, local ice creamery, coming to Ponce City Market

RELATED: A photo tour of Ponce City Market

RELATED: The King of Pops and more PHOTOS on North Avenue

 

 

Joy, joy, joy: Honeysuckle Gelato Brings Ice Cream to Ponce City Market in Atlanta

Honeysuckle Gelato, King of Pops, Jeni's Ice Cream, Atlanta, frozen treats, entrepreneurs, dessert, food truck, Ponce City Market, belt line

A none-too-rare view of my kitchen counter

I love Honeysuckle Gelato, and now the local ice creamery is going to be part of Ponce City Market, just down the street from me. I created my first Storify piece to chronicle my love affair (so far) with the rich, delicious dessert.

Storify is a fun tool to play with, a different way to tell a story. As for the success of Honeysuckle (and King of Pops and Jeni’s Ice Cream and lots of food trucks), it’s about more than frozen treats. It’s about local, small businesses finding success by offering excellence in product and service and a rich, emotional connection that resonates and drives loyalty. And by connecting with Ponce City Market,  one of the most exciting urban projects in the country, Honeysuckle has become part of the bigger story about Atlanta’s ongoing efforts to make intown living attractive, fun and smart. And crazy delicious.

RELATED: Jeni’s Ice Cream opens in Atlanta, plans another location.

RELATED: Richard Blais brings Flip Burger to the neighborhood; everybody wins in Burger Wars.

RELATED: Ponce City Market is on North Avenue, home to many iconic images