Talk about double whammies. When the economy tanked eight years ago, Greg Miller lost his job with an investment bank in New York City where he had worked for 11 years. He also worked as an actor and voiceover artist. His wife, Lynn, a food stylist and former chef, saw her bookings evaporate. The couple’s son, Jack, was 13 at the time, and, says Lynn, “with no income, we had to reinvent ourselves.”
With many years of food-service experience between them, Greg and Lynn, who met at a restaurant in North Carolina in 1992 and married two years later, toyed with opening a restaurant of their own. But they quickly dismissed that notion. “It ends up owning you,” says Greg. The idea that jelled, which involved a low barrier of entry and a fresh, healthy product, was to make frozen fruit Go-Go Pops on a stick, which they would sell for $3.25 a pop in farmers’ markets near their Cold Spring home. They rented cooking space in a church kitchen, met with success, then scouted for a brick-and-mortar store. Six years ago, they opened an 800-square-foot shop in Cold Spring, and increased production led them to a larger incubator kitchen in Beacon.
The Millers produce 90 flavors of Go-Go Pops, with a dozen standards. They find that customers favor light, juicy, nondairy choices come summer, and creamier, richer pops in winter. To increase revenue, they sell prepackaged salads, soups, baked goods, and organic, fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolate at the Cold Spring store, as well as wholesaling to shops like Taste New York on the Taconic State Parkway, event venues like the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and some country clubs’ poolside cafes.
Lynn manages retail, marketing, and advertising; Greg oversees production and delivery. They designed their workload to overlap in order to handle each other’s tasks. They also pursue other job possibilities and sell at farmers’ markets on weekends. Their son has even stepped in to help. What they miss most is time off and weekends, Greg says.
But they love their new venture and working together, which has helped them expand their social network exponentially. And, they still love and like each other. “There’s nothing more satisfying than having a shared purpose with someone you love and respect,” Lynn says. Greg wholeheartedly agrees.