Student entrepreneurs – PopCycle

Nishtha Sharma, Staff Writer

For many students, summer vacation consists of traveling abroad, taking courses, or relaxing, but for Noah Goldberg (12), it involves running an ice cream delivery business based in Martha’s Vineyard.

During her sophomore year, Noah founded Popcycle, a company that delivers ice cream sourced from the New York City (NYC) area to customers in Martha’s Vineyard through an app. New to the school that year, Noah was inspired by the school’s “creative, do-it-yourself environment,” as well as her interests in technology and food, she said.

In order to get the desserts to Martha’s Vineyard, Noah reaches out to vendors in NYC, including DŌ, Melt Bakery, and La NewYorkina, Scarlett Goldberg (9) said.

During the summer, Noah and her father rent a freezer truck around once every ten days to pick up the ice cream and distribute it, a process involving a 5-hour drive and 45-minute ferry ride, Noah said.

Popcycle allows customers to order through an app, and the ice cream is then delivered within 15-minutes. Employees deliver the treats using an eco-friendly electric bike, Scarlett said.

Currently, Popcycle has five part-time employees, and members of the Goldberg family usually help out whenever needed, Scarlett said.

“It can get difficult and very hectic at times, because there can be several orders coming in without many employees to help out,” Tess Goldberg (8) said.

Even though it is common for more than two orders to come in at once, employees do a good job of getting the ice cream delivered within minutes, Audrey Goldberg (7) said.

This summer, Popcycle was invited to the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair, an annual event the island has hosted for the past 150 years, Noah said. “It was super exciting to be signing up for an event that was going to have around 60,000 people,” she said. “We knew we would have competition against other brands…some who had been attending the festival for 20 years…but hearing people come up to me and recognize my business made me realize what we had created and the brand we built.”

Popcycle became a delivery business due to a law that prohibited ice cream vendors from providing service in the Martha’s Vineyard area, Noah said.

Noah decided to use bicycles to assist in the delivery and through research, discovered a small company in Denmark producing a prototype for an e-bike at the time, she said. As of now, the e-bike Popcycle uses is the only one in America, Noah said.

After a bank turned down Noah’s loan request, she turned to her parents for support. Noah paid back the loan this summer, and the company currently has no debt, Noah said.

However, Noah faced other challenges when starting Popcycle, she said. “Establishing a name and reputation was difficult. Not only did I want to run this business, I also wanted to build a brand that could grow in the coming years…and having people associate the idea and service was tough, but we did really well through social media,” she said.

Noah hopes to expand beyond Martha’s Vineyard and potentially open a storefront, she said. “Martha’s Vineyard was a starting base because that’s where I’ve vacationed since I was a kid, but now that I’ve seen the potential this idea has, we’re considering the reality of franchising the business.”

Noah believes that expanding the company will encourage girls to pursue entrepreneurship, regardless of financial situations, she said.

“I think it’s amazing to see how Noah started this company when she was 16 and turned it into a full-out company,” Scarlett said. “She is even doing catering events, and to see a company so intense and intact is very cool.”

Noah has expanded Popcycle from a small business not many people had heard of to one of the most talked about in Martha’s Vineyard, Tess said. “It’s grown tremendously,” she said.