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Spanish Fork teen builds popsicle business to cool down Utah summers

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jun 27, 2023

SPANISH FORK, Utah — Popsicles are the treat of the summer, and a young teenage entrepreneur from Spanish Fork is giving everyone in Utah the chance to taste his Hawaiian twist on a summertime classic.

"I thought it'd be such a good idea to create like a creamy Otter Pop," explained 13-year-old Kekai Keala.

With that inspiration, Keala created Kai Pops, an island-style popsicle business, when he was just nine years old.

"In Hawaii, with my grandma, we made these ice cups which is a little popsicle in a cup, and I thought it would be fun to put them in a little baggy and then start selling them at sports events," he said.

So that's exactly what Keala did.

Four years later, his business has grown to start serving at events and parks across the state. To keep up with the demand, Kekai and his family make over a 1,000 Kai Pops a week.

"We make them and we mix them into our little batches, then we pour them into a machine and we pump it and it gives us a perfect amount and it's already sealed and everything, then we lay it on a try and freeze it," Kekai said, explaining the process behind the creation of a Kai Pop.

His Kai Pops truck brings sweet icy treats to local neighborhoods, but Kekai says it's not just about the popsicles, it's also about sharing the aloha.

"When I say share the aloha, I mean share the kindness and share the Kai Pops too," Kekai said.

For Keala's brother and mom, Aisha, sharing the aloha also means love and sharing their family's Hawaiian culture.

"It means a lot to us, said Aisha. "I'm not Hawaiian, but it means a lot to our family, the culture is important, and it's important that they carry on their traditions,"

Even after collaborating with Utah's soda wonder, Swig, and some of Utah's favorite influencers, Kekai is still thinking of growth opportunities for his family-operated business.

Keala and his family are grateful for all his success, and he now wants other young entrepreneurs to know they can do it, too.

"I feel like a lot of kids, they have this dream and I feel like they can accomplish it if they try."